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^^^•^ sol/. i.^C^j 



' • •■ ^ — ■ w 















JULY 26, 1927 






Departuie horn St. Peter and St. Paul's— Avatcha—- 
Koraki -*-'Nachiekiii — * Apatchinsk — Bolclieretzk — 
UtkaOstrog — KolpakoMoi — Itchinsk — KavaraDskoi 
— ^Napanas— TygU — Sedaaka-^Yelof ka-^ Khartchina 
— Kamennoy Ostro^—Kamakifr— NisimeyKamtdiatsk 
— GSntJcMe— KKStrovaOatrog^--K<KroMftky--^ManMi« 
rah — ^IQr^ainiick — MilkovHr^Verclmey Kamtdmt^ 
— Stdi^tdiik — Shenm— Pmlieyat^-Qittal'-^ 
Malka— Retuni «» St. Feter and St» FbuIV S 

General^ OlMienralioiia on the Peningala of Kamtchatka . 37 


I>epaii^tiv8 ftom Kamtchatka — Re-ani?al at Okotsk-^ 
Farther Obsenratipiw on th«t ptece— 43ulgeine-— The 
UdoiQar«Outchakai>--Anchekon.---Atcl^ and Kon- 
kui Burm^Tchojcnoi Liess— Chakdalkar-Chekinvio 
-~The Aldan, Amgha, and Lena riTers— -Re-arrival 
at Yakutsk— General Obserrations on the Yakut!, and 
of thdr Metropolis 7^ 




Departure from Yakutsk — Tastakinskoi—Olekma — 

Berezova — ^Vittim — Kirenga — Katchouga — Bratsky 

Steppe— Verkholensk — Re-arrival at Irkutsk— The 

Angara river — The Baikhal lake-^Verchney Udinsk 

— Seleng^Dsk, and the Missionary station at that place 106 


Verchney Udinsk — Tchitta — Baidaiofsky — Boishoy 
Zavod — Nertchinsk — Tsurukludtouyefsk^ Kondou — 
Tchindat — Khirring — Ashenghinsky— Mogoitu — The 
Ingoda— Tchitta— The Hot Baths— The Etamza— 
Return to Verchney Udinsk — ^The Selenga — Kiakhta 135 


Kiakhta — Cliutchie — Selenginsk — Irkutsk — The An- 
gara — ^Nishney Udinsk — Illan— Krasnojarsk — Yenis- 
seisk — The Black river — Atchinsk — Bogotova — 
Kemtchiega — Perecoule— Tomsk — ^Taslueka— ^Tchien 
— Kainsk — Barabinsky Steppe — Vosnesensk—rYa- 
lanka — Zavolgalka — Omsk 163 


Omsk— Tou-Kalan — Ishim — Tobolsk — Kamishloff-^ . 
Mr. Major's establishment— Ekatherinebourg — Bil- 
limbay-Zavod — ^Bissertskaya Krepost — Koungour — 
Perm — Okhansk — Kilmess-selti — Malmish — Kazan 
— ^Tcheboksari — Vassil — Nishney Novgorod — Bojgo- 
rodskoye — ^Paulovo-^ Vladimir — Moscow — Klinn— * 
Tver — ^Toijock — ^Vishney Volotehock — Novgorod— 
St. Petersburg 196 


KinwiliM ef* Turtar Ttmria Ki 




Departure from St. Peter and St. PauPs — AYatcha—Koraki 
— Nachiekin — Apatchinsk — ^Bolcheretzk — Utka Ostrog — 
Kolpakofekoi — Itchinsk — Kavaranskoi — Napanas — ^Tygil 
— Sedanka — ^Yelof ka — Khartchina—Kamennoy Ostrog — 
Kamakie -^ Nishney Kamtchatsk — Oliutchie-— Krestova 
Ostrog — Kozerofsky — Massarah — Kirgannick— MlLkoya 
— ^Verchney Kamtchatsk — Stchegatchik — Sherom — Push- 
chien — Ganal — Malka — ^Return to St/Peter and St. PauPg. 

All being prepared for me» I quitted the pott 
of St. Peter and St. Paul's^ accompanied by seven- 
teen nartesy driven by the officers and principal 
inhabitants, and for two miles by the ladies, one of 
them, at parting, imprinting upon me a kiss, which 

Speaking silence, dumb confession. 

Passion's birth, and infant's play. 
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession. 

Glowing dawn of brighter day ! 

B 2 


It was not long before I reached Avatcha, 
where I found all the officers awaiting me, with tea 
and other refreshments. The distance we had 
come is eight miles, along the beach, and over a 
few little hillocks covered with some stunted birch. 
At eight in the evening of the 20th November, O.S. 
I proceeded upon my journey, with a Cossack and 
four nartes ; not that such a number was necessary 
to stow away my baggage, for it would not even fill 
the portmanteau of Sterne's Sentimental Traveller, 
although my pantaloons were of leather, while his 
were of silk, and consequently more easy to be 
stowed away. 

From Avatcha the path lies along the river of its 
own name, which impeded our progress, and was 
otherwise unpleasant, as wetting me a good deal. 
The scenery was very dull, and I was so absorbed 
in contemplation that I could hardly see the right 
side of any thing. At midnight I reached the ostrog 
of Koraki, forty miles from the port, where are a 
few fishing hamlets in tolerable condition. At one 
of them I fell in with an old shipmate, who had 
come in the same transport from Okotsk. He had 
departed from the port three days before me, but 
a too frequent use of brandy had induced the 
Kamtchatdales to deny him dogs, in hopes of get- 
ting a portion of it. 

The Cossack did not arrive at the halting place 


imtil eight in the morniog, and then in such a state 
as to render him a fit companion for my pld ship- 
mate. By noon, however, I got away and pro- 
ceeded towards Nachiekin, thirty miles. The 
country was «, deep in snow tbatlt was midnight 
before we arrived. We passed numerous half- 
frozen streams, the dogs suffering a good deal, and 
whenever I walked to relieve them, I was sure <if 
having my feet severely wetted* At Nachiekin I 
had to combat with a drunken postilion, bad dogs, 
a saucy toion. and my old friend, who much 
annoyed me. Patience was my only resource for 
some hours, after which, on a beautiful frosty 
moon-light morning, I resumed the journey over a 
picturesque and mountainous country, weU wooded 
and watered. Late at night we reached a small 
place called Apachinsk, forty-five miles. Ere we 
arrived, we had to cross the river called Bolshaya in 
a canoe, the river not being frozen, a circumstance 
at this time of the year very rarely known. Thirty 
miles farther we reached the ancient capital of 
Kamtchatka, Bolcheretzk, now a small village, 
containing fourteen dwellings, one hundred and 
sixteen inhabitants, and about thirty balagans, i. e. 
sheds for drying fish. The path to it was over a 
flat level along the river. I was myself the driver 
towards the abode of my now father-in-law, whose 
homely miners, numerous, healthy, smiling chil- 


dren, and hearty breakfast, made ample amends 
for the fatigues of the last two days. 

Bolcheretzk stands on the river of its own name, 
about fifteen miles from the sea of Okotsk, and has 
little to boast of at present but the affectionate re- 
membrance the inhabitants bear to the memory of 
Major Behm, so highly spoken of by Captain King. 
I heard, also, strange stories of the celebrated Ben- 
jofsky, who made his escape hence to Canton, hay- 
ing previously murdered some people and fomented 
an insurrection. I heard nothing in his favour, 
although an old lady, afterwards my aunt, was a 
companion of his. I found Bolcheretzk to be in- 
habited by a civil people, all Russians ; but were 
it otherwise, it might be expected I should speak 
highly of it, as the first place where my wife saw 
the light of day. 

I could not fail of being a welcome guest at such 
a place, where neither tobacco, tea, nor spirits had 
been tasted for the last threfe months by any indi- 
vidual. Of coursie, I left a small quantity of each 
article with my friends, making them, as it were, 
roll in luxuries, in return for which I received seve- 
ral sables and foxes as presents. The state of the 
river was such as to prevent my proceeding upon 
my journey in less than two days, which period I 
passed very happily, wandering over the extensive 
site of this ancient place ; it is said tb have for- 


merly contained to the number of five hundred in- 
habitantSy which have been reduced partly by the 
removal of the seat of government, and partly by 
&ease. Ineligible as it is for a seat of govern- 
ment, I considered it as superior to St. Peter and 
St. Paul's ; here there is unlimited pasture and an 
abundance of wood; there, neither the one nor the 
other. The advantage of the harbour of St. Peter 
and St. Paul's is, no doubt, a great thing ; but the 
river Bolshaya is by no me&ns inappropriate for the 
small transports from Okotsk ; to say nothing of 
the greater number and more safe voyages which 
could be made, compared with those actually per- 
formed to the present capital. 

Canoes being provided, I resumed my journey 
in a heavy fall of snow, and crossing three branches 
of the river, entered upon a trackless maze of snow 
six and eight feet deep ; so difficult to pass, that 
it was three o'clock the following morning before I 
reached Utka ostrog, having been twenty hours in 
going fifteen miles. The route was along the sea 
coast, having far to the right an elevated range of 
mountains. Three miserable dwellings, in an ex- 
posed situation, but with fine meadow lands, and 
plenty of game and fish, are all it can boast of. 
The chief was absent, hunting, and, as I could not 
procure fresh dogs, I remained six hours to rest 
those I had brought, and then proceeded upon, my 


jonmey^ reachiog, by midnight, Kickcliicky twenty 
miles^ a place of equal wretchedness with the last, 
and, like it, containing but fourteen or fifteen inha- 
bitants, most of whom are disabled from work by 
disease. With the same dogs I reached Kolofsky 
ostrog, thirty miles along the seacoast, upon which 
a tremendous surf was roaring, with a strong north- 
west wind. There are in the neighbourhood seye- 
ral fine lakes, which never freeze, and produce trout 
and salmon peal of a fine flavour during the whole 
of the winter. Deer, mountain-sheep, and game 
of every description that is found in the peninsula, 
abound in the mountains and forests, and fine mea^ 
dow lands every where skirt the coast. 

I remained to take tea with the old toion, whom 
I found to be a fiddler and a scholar, and departed 
for Vorofskoy ostrog, forty miles. The mountains 
now approached nearer to the sea-coast, and pre- 
sented some beautiful sceneiy. I put up at the 
abode of a wealthy Russian farmer, and felt highly 
gratified in observing a small but fat herd of cattle. 
This is considered a rich spot, boasting, as it does, 
of forty head of oxen, yet it contains only nine 
dwellings with about forty inhabitants, not enough 
to keep up the chase. The^ lace is prettily situated 
on the Vorofskaya river, about four miles from the 
sea. There is a snug harbour at the mouth of the 
river, where the transports from Okotsk formerly 



visited, and the river is navigable to the village, 
which retains the vestiges of a smaU fortress. The 
meadow lands about it are at once extensive and 
Inxuriant. The inhabitants provided me with fro- 
zen fish, a delibacy I had so much enjoyed on the 
Kolyma, with ducks and rein-deer meat, as also 
with dogs to resume the journey, which carried 
me to Kolpakofskoi ostrog, thirty miles, along a 
dreary sea beach. The village contains six dwell- 
ings, and twenty people, who furnished me with 
dogs ix> Kroutogorova, thirty miles further, a 
beautiful situation near the extremity of the almost 
level plane reaching from hence to Bolcheretzk. 
The famous sopka, i. e. burning mountain, near 
Itchinsk, here becomes visible, and, although the 
country is so rich, not a head of cattle is to be met 
with from Vorofskaya. 

To Itchinsk are thirty miles of superior country, 
yet so deep in snow that we were obliged to 
take it by turns to go a-head with snow shoes; 
at other times, the government of a narte was 
thrown upon me, which I at first made but a 
bungling hand of. Itchinsk has twelve dwellings; 
it is, consequently, a considerable place ! — there are 
also two priests, brothers, whom I found drinking 
a decoction of dried herb instead of tea. I felt 
angry with the toion, who had let slip eight dogs 
intended for me, and declined entering his dwel- 


ling, the strongest mark of displeasure which can 
be shown to these simple people. The poor fellow 
felt the slight so severely as he saw me entering 
another yourte, that I could not help regretting 
the determination I had made. To Soposhna it 
is thirty-five miles, which I travelled in company 
with the reverend pedlars, for every body here is a 
merchant. I made them happy by a pound of tea, 
a few pounds of tobacco, and a bottle of spirits. 
The road was very fine, and the weather had much 
increased in cold; so much so, that the thermometer 
stood at 25"*, which I had never before seen in 
Kamtchatka above 18**. Thence to Morososhna, 
thirty miles of a good road. The last-named 
village may be termed large, containing eighteen 
dwellings and a hundred inhabitants, in the 
enjoyment of many luxuries, yet without cattle. 
Thence the road lay along the foot of the moun- 
tains, the scenery of which gives a relief to the 
eye, as it is, in general, uninteresting all the 
way from Bolcheretzk, except at a few places. 
Upon the road to Belagolofsk ostrog, thirty-five 
miles, I got twice upset into Hie river, without 
the means of drying or changing my clothes, and 
suffered much, in consequence, in my feet. I had 
a fine view of the magnificent Itchinskaya sopka, 
or mountain, which continued visible until I 
reached Khariuzova, fprty miles, the road to 


which is in general good, though there are some 
parts dangerous in the night time. The ice, from 
the rapidity of the current, frequently sunk under 
us, but from our velocity of movement no accident 

At midnight I continued on for Kovranskoy 
ostrog, twenty-two miles. There is a law in 
Kamtchatka obliging the toions to have a path 
made within twenty-four hours after every snow 
storm. Our chief had failed in his duty in this 
particular, and consequently was obliged to go 
before upon his snow shoes ; and such was his dili- 
gence, from fear of reprehension, that he not only 
arrived before me, but arrived in five hours, a 
very short time to accomplish such a journey upon 
snow shoes. I found it the most miserable place 
I had seen for a long period, reminding me of 
Zashiversk in northern Siberia. The brows of the 
hills are covered with brush-wood, with little other 
appearance of nature. From hence to Uskolof- 
skoy ostrog are thirty-five miles, which I was 
obliged to do by walking and alternately driving a 
narte, and cannot say which of the two is the 
most fatiguing. The diseases prevalent in the 
place prevented almost any assistance being ren- 
dered us. There are no cattle, yet fine meadow 
lands. Fish and game are abundant. At this 
place I met with another old shipmate, in the 


person of the brandy contractor^ who accompa- 
nied me to the next station, Napanas, a village 
with six dwellings and forty people. The road 
leading to it is considered dangerous, owing to a 
large toundra, or swampy desert, which must be 
crossed : the distance is forty miles. We passed 
the desert in a slight fall of snow, which had not 
been sufficient to obliterate the marks of the track, 
else we must have been compelled to halt when- 
ever the snow overtook us. I did not arrive untU 
two o'clock in the morning, having been previously 
hurled down a snowy decUvity of one hundred 
feet in diepth : at the bottom of which, I, guide, 
dogs, and narte, all lay huddled together ; however 
vexed I felt inclined to be, I could not help 
laughing. The guide could hardly have intended a 
performance of the kind, which might have caused 
serious consequences ; it is true, he was a little in 
liquor, but that was my fault rather than his. 

The velocity and faoiUty with which we had 
descended the declivity, was more than equalled 
by the difficulty we had in ascending from it. To 
drag me and the narte from the abyss, required 
all the dogs of the other vehicles, as well as the 
help of all the drivers, yet we succeeded at length ; 
when, upon replacing the baggage, my pocket- 
book, containing passports and other papers re- 
lative to my journey, was missing; this, though 


perhaps an imaginary evil, would have been se- 
verely felt by me. For a long time we searched 
in vain, turning up the snow, and, at last, I gave 
it up for lost. Sach a loss never did, nor pro- 
bably ever will, happen to any other person, as the 
papers which formed its contents are not likely 
to be again granted. The poor guide was the 
picture of despair, and vowed to do penance if he 
could only recover them, which at last was effected 
through the exertions of the brandy chief. We 
arrived thence all well, and fared heartily. Na- 
panas contains eight dwellings and an excellent 
toion, who induced the people under his com- 
mand to show me the national dance*, The poor 
fellows willingly obliged me, showing the improve- 
ments they have made upon the practice of bears, 
or rather, perhaps, on that of goats. The dance 
consists in a variety of distortions of features and 
limbs, all, doubtless, derived from the ridiculous 
and wanton customs of their ancestors. The 
dance of the Cossacks is equally bad, if not worse; 
yet I have seen it often practised, at Yakutsk, by 
females who should have known better. The wo- 
man, who is the principal performer, commences 
the dance with a handkerchief extended by the 
hands, somewhat like our own shawl dances ; now 
used to hide her face from one, then from another, 
but always with the object of singling out him 


whom she most prefers as a partner. In almost 

unbecoming posture she approaches the favourite 

from the centre of the room ; now dropping her 

head, with a pensive - air, alternately upon each 

breast or shoulder, while her hands are employed 

in committing outrages upon decorum. The man, 

having taken hold of the handkerchief, joins the 

dance; the woman now reluctantly affecting to 

quit, appears again as anxious to rejoin him; this 

sort of a^tic motion is continued, till, at length, the 

woman sinks, as from fatigue, upon her knees, and 

in the act of falling is dexterously recovered by 

the man ; and thus the dance closes. The agility 

and imitative powers of these wild Asiatics are 

really surprising ; and I make no doubt that, were 

they tol^ve » opportunity of seeing the modem 

improvement in the art of dancing, as exhibited 

now-a-days in Various public theatres, they would 

be found capable of imitating, not only bears and 

goats, but geese also. 

From Napanas I proceeded down the river of 
its own name to its junction with the Tygilsk : 
having previously sent the Cossack, with the post 
and my baggage, straight on to the fortress. I 
reached the haven, where the brig Paul was laid 
up in the ice, with her lower rigging over the mast- 
head, I suppose to become firost-bitten. She belongs 
to the government, and makes one voyage annuaUy 


to Oiotsk, with bread, stores, &c« ; carrying back 
the furs which have been collected. A brig, of one 
hundred and twenty tons, is thus kept in commis- 
sion to carry bread, for a few people, a distance of 
three hundred miles. Its commander, officers, and 
about twenty-'five people paid and fed the whole 
year ! I never knew a more shameful instance of 
mconsiderateness, on the part of the officers of any 
place, in any country. This brig, on an average, 
is not more than fifteen days at sea in the course 
of the year, and ought, if proper exertions were 
made, and proper encouragement given, to supply 
Idgiga, Tygil, and Yamsk with provisions; instead 
of which, each of these places keeps a similar 
vessel. Tolerably good barracks and store-houses 
have been built by the steersman, or commander, 
who has charge of the brig. The distance of the 
haven to the sea is ten miles, and below the for- 
tress twenty; which last place I reached in time to 
dine with its commandant, a lieutenant of the im- 
perial navy, a young man, who had held the situa- 
tion near five years, but who will now shortly leave 
it; that being the period allotted for his continuation 
in service. 

Tygil stands on the river of its own name, at 
ihirty^ miles firom the sea. The country round it 
has somewhat of the picturesque during the sum* 
mer; but its situation in winter is exposed and 

16 TYGIL. 

dreary. A range of mountains, from the N.E. to 
the S.E., defend it, in some degree, from the 
coldest winds ; yet it is, on the whole, but a poor 
place. There are, at present, twenty-seven dwel- 
lings and two hundred and fifty inhabitants, and it 
is denominated a fortress ; formerly, it may actually 
have been one, but, at present, will be best appre- 
ciated as to its strength by a reference to George's 
Travels in Siberia ; who, speaking of fortresses, or 
ostrog^y the latter word comprehending Siberian 
fortressei|, says, ** It would be dangerous to attempt 
storming them, for whoever wanted to mount the 
greatest and only bulwark, a wooden paling, woidd, 
most probably come to the ground with Che whole 
staructure about him." Such, I am certain, is the 
present state of Tygil: and which, with its half 
dozen Cossacks, can only be held in terrorem 
over the neighbouring Koriaks : the Kamtchatdales 
are not a people numerically or physically strong 
enough to create a disturbance. 

The inhabitants of Tygil are all Russians ; they 
have of late got the W€dl8 of a church as well as of 
an hospital erected ; when they are to be covered 
in I know not, though shortly I hope, for they are 
much wanted. The ravages of a certain disease, 
at this place, are indeed dreadful, and, I should 
think, ought to call fctth the attention of the 
government so far as to induce them to export 

TYGIL. 17 

doctors to^ and import priests from, Kamtchatka. 
I mean no disrespect to those reverend gentlemen, 
but just to hint, as my opinion, that, instead of the 
soul only, it would be better to take care of the 
soul and body at the same time. The average 
number of people annually admitted to the hos- 
pital books is three hundred and fifty, nearly twice 
its whole population, who are chiefly employed in 
fishing and trading with the neighbouring Koriaks, 
or Kamtchatdales* The place also serves to keep 
up the winter communication with Okotsk. For 
the Koriaks will not furnish rein-deer or dogs to 
carry the post, unless they are remunerated by a 
present of tobacco, spirits, &c. 

From what I have seen of the Koriaks, both in 
Tygil and in their encampments to the southward, 
I have no doubt of their being of the same tribe 
as the Tchuktchi; they have the same features, 
manners, and customs, and the same language — 
the same love of independence, and are, in truth, 
less scrupulous of giving ofience to the Russians 
than their northern neighbours, for they frequently 
break out in hostility with the inhabitants of 
Tygil, unless a supply of spirits and tobacco is 
sent to them, for which, however, they barter 
rein-deer and furs. 

The climate of Tygil is cold ; already had the 
thermometer passed 28<» of Reaumur. The Cos« 

VOL. II. c 


sacks, however, contrive to raise a few vegetables, 
as potatoes, cabbages, taroips, and radishes ; but 
the two former never arrive at complete maturity, 
the one being waxy, and the other without a head. 
The famous antiscorbutic, cheremsha, or wild gar- 
lick, abounds ; as does a small but delicious root, 
in flavour somewhat resembling a sweet potatoe, 
called, in the language of the country, kimtchiga. 
There is also an abundance of wild berries in the 
neighbourhood of Tygil, yet their chief support 
is fish and rein-deer, of both which I partook at 
the hospitable table of the commander of the for- 
tress. At the expiration of four days I departed, 
having remained so long to recover my feet, which 
had been severely frost-bitten from wet. 

I was accompanied by the commander of the 
transport lying in the haven: he was what is 
termed a good, though a droll, fellow ; and I was 
gratified with his society. Our route lay at first 
up the Tygil, which from its source to near the 
town runs through an interesting country. At 
midnight we reached Sedanka, a small village, con- 
taining six dwellings. From thence to Boloheret^ 
is called the Tjrgil coast, which, generally speak- 
ing, is low and flat, the sea coast being firom thirty 
to forty miles from the mountains. The villages 
through which I had come were all of them upon 
the banks of some small streams, which, in most 


cases, rise in the mountains ; but sometimes they 
emanate from the lakes, which are numerous. The 
rivers I do not apprehend to be more than the 
melting of snow and rain which descend from the 
eternally snow-clad peaks. The quantity of homed 
cattle upon the coast is so small as not to merit 
notice, although the pastures are extensive and 
fertile enough to feed millions. 

At Sedanka we procured dogs to enable us to 
cross the mountains to the next station, a distance 
of one hundred miles. Early in the morning we 
passed the camp of the Koriaks, and continued 
our route along the Sedanka river for forty mUes, 
when we reached the Basoshna. We encamped 
for the night in the snow, placing ourselves between 
the dogs and the fire ; we passed, on the whole, a 
pleasant night, although my feet were still in a bad 
state, owing probably to their late want of pedes- 
trian exercise. The following day we crossed nu- 
merous elevated lakes, and then over mountains 
and a well-wooded country. On our way we fell 
in with a caravan of eleven nartes, from the town 
of Cliutchie, bound to Tygil. We continued until 
we reached an elevated desert of ten miles long, 
which we crossed in a continual storm of wind and 
snow, called in this country jpt^rgra; we halted in a 
miserable place, having come about thirty miles. 
I can hardly imagine how the poor dogs found 

c 2 


their way, or how they managed to drag us along. 
There are times when these purgas are so tremen- 
dous, that mountains of snow are levelled, immense 
valleys filled, whirlpools formed of snow, not only 
stopping the further progress of the traveller, but 
absolutely burying him and his dogs : nothing can 
exceed the devastation, or be compared to it, but 
the effects of the wind on sandy deserts or moun- 
tains. I have known instances of people detained 
for twenty and thirty days in this tremendous pass; 
and it is seldom that it is crossed without a gale. 
And yet all this difficulty and danger might be 
obviated, simply by the erection of crosses or 
mounts, as in the northern parts of Siberia, where 
I have seen in the distance of thirty or forty miles 
a small mound of earth, with a white and black 
chequered cross, placed at every one hundred and 
fifty yards. 

The night was exceedingly cold, and the snow 
and wind prevented our even enjoying the luxury 
of a cup of tea, for no fire could be lighted. 
Crossing a second toundra, desert, of seven miles 
wide, with infinite labour to the dogs as well as 
ourselves, we entered upon a most magnificent 
country. Lofty, straight, and stout firs lined the 
right of the valley, while the dwarfish larch, and 
alder, mixed with birch, stood upon the left in all 
their bandied and crooked shapes. The contrast 


was extremely pleasing, as we glided along the 
milky valleys at a rapid rate. Immediately upoik 
clearing the desert the snow and wind ceased, and 
we hailed the return of fine cold weather. Not 
long after we overtook a caravan of nartes in great 
distress, having been detained ten days in the 
mountains by the weather. The. dogs had been 
without food for three days, and were, from fatigue, 
evidently in the last stage. In the early part of 
the evening we reached the Yelof ka river, which 
unites not far hence with the Kamtchatka, running 
in a picturesque manner through the country. At 
seven we reached the ostrog of Yelof ka, fortunate 
in having crossed the mountains so safely. 

Yelof ka is a pleasant village of eight dwellings 
and forty-six people; the country round it is ele- 
vated and well wooded. We remained only a few 
hours to refresh ourselves, and then continued the 
journey along the river of its own name, the banks 
of which afford some beautiful scenery for about 
fifteen miles. We then came to a desert, which 
we crossed in a purga, fortunately not very heavy. 
At forty miles we reached the village of Khart- 
china, of five dwellings and thirty inhabitants. I 
was welcomed to it by a respectable looking old 
man, a priest, son to the highly eulogized priest of 
Paratounka. The son perfectly well remembered 


Captains Cook and Clerk ; he having been, at that 
time a young man, living with his father at the 
village of Paratonnka. Several uninteresting anec* 
dotes were related of them, as also of Perouse, in 
their rambles of shooting or chasing the wild ani- 
mals. I had at Yakutsk been recalled to the 
remembrance of Captain Cook by a silver watch, 
which now belongs to Captain Minitsky, of the 
Russian navy, and which, I think, is spoken of 
somewhere as having been given away by that 
great navigator to some individual merchant. He 
probably disposed of it, and thus at last it has 
fallen into the hands of the present holder, who, 
though I feel assured he appreciates it highly, yet 
would not retain it, should relations, or others 
more nearly concerned, express a desire to be 
possessed of so valuable a memorial. 

From iJLhartchina the route lies over a large 
lake, and thence over a fine open country, abound- 
ing with some of the finest fir-trees I have ever 
seen, reaching to the height of sixty and eighty 
feet. At twenty miles we reached the ostrog of 
Kamennoy, on the right bank of the Kamtchatka, 
and, changing dogs, pfoqeeded twelve miles farther 
to Kamakie, over numerous lakes near the river. 
The country here abounds with red foxes, and is 
certainly one of the tnost picturesque parts of the 


peninsula: the beautiful view of the sopka^ or 
peak, of Clhitchie, was hid in the clouds. I moved 
on towards Nishney Kamtchatsk, also an ancient 
capital in the peninsulay a far more eligible place 
than the present site. The weather had now 
become very mild, no less than 9* of heat of Reau- 
mur. We made good about seven miles of our 
journey, through very deep snow, by the ensuing 
morning. For three hours we did not move for- 
ward more than one mile; aheavy fall of snow had 
taken place, and it was found impossible to proceed, 
owing to the extraordinary heat of the weather. 
No track nor scent offered to the dogs, otherwise 
I would have persisted in the prosecution of my 
journey. The drivers, however, with snow shoes, 
actually sunk eighteen inches deep in the snow, 
and I was therefore compelled to return. We 
soon regained the ostrog we had left, and there we 
passed the night, witnessing such a scene of riot 
and drunkenness as is quite beyond my pen to 
describe ; had it not been for the previous know- 
ledge of the character of the Kamtchatdales which 
I entertained, of their inoffensive although boiste- 
rous conduct, I should have feared some unhappy 
result. My companion had parted with a few 
bottles of spirits unadulterated, which, when they 
had operated, induced him again to launch out 
adulterated spirits, receiving, of course, a sable for 


each bottle. I was thoroughly convinced; from 
this circumstance, that Kamtchatka should not be 
suppUed with spirits. 

I was mortified at not yisitiiig the town of Nish- 
ney Kamtchatsk, and its port; but may say that 
the former contains twenty-two dwellings and one 
hundred and fifty inhabitants^ and the latter an 
accessible port, but much feared for want of being 
frequented. Formerly, when the seat of govern- 
ment was held there, vessels annually went to St. 
Peter and St. Paul's for provisions; but this is now 
no longer the case. Timber abounds in such quan- 
tities, and of such a quality, as should induce the 
government to fell and to export it to the pre- 
sent capital, where it is much wanted. I reached 
CUutchie at midnight, having come over a few 
lakes and a half-frozen river. CUutchie is a Rus- 
sian peasants' village, containing one hundred and 
eighty inhabitants. It is pleasantly situated upon 
the right bank of the Kamtchatka, at the foot of 
the eastern termination of the lofty peak, which is 
not far from it. This peak is said to be the most 
elevated in the peninsula, being about fifteen thou- 
sand feet above the level of the sea. It has fre- 
quently emitted flames, lava, and dust; but its 
summit was not visible during my stay in this 
respectable village of Christians. After the grand 
eruption which I had witnessed in the island of 


St. Vincent's, in 1812, I coald feel no regret at 
not being able to see one in Kamtchatka. It is 
true that Uttle or no mischief arises from the vol- 
canoes of this peninstila, and they may therefore 
be more innocently and placidly seen and con- 

The amount of tribute paid by the peasants is 
about ten shillings — ^^formerly it was twenty ; being 
reduced one half at the time the Kamtchatdale 
yasack was reduced from two to one sable. The 
country is in every respect most luxuriant and 
beautiful, and were there a sufficiency of inhabit- 
ants, as well as of horned cattle, it would no doubt 
make one of the most desirable abodes in the 
world : certainly an abode I should rejoice to have 
within my reach, although separated from fortune, 
family, friends, and luxuries, — nay, almost denied 
the comforts of life : to a contemplative mind I 
have always deemed the necessaries of life quite 
sufficient, and these are eminently abundant in 
Kamtchatka. Wood of the first growth, fish in a 
most abundant quantity, game of the finest flavour^ 
and of various species ; pastures inconsumable ; a 
chase which yields foxes, sables, river-otters, bears, 
wolves, 8cc. of the finest specimens, — are what 
Cliutchie has to boast. Vegetables are raised with 
greater facility than in any other part of the pen- 
insula. Wild berries are very abundant, and some 


little rye floor is produced, thovgh not of so ripe a 
qnaUty as to be of maoh ose. Sack are, in .hort, 
the claijvs of Cliatchie, that it should undoubtedly 
be made the capital of the peniosula ; and I am 
only astonished it is not so, considering how well 
its central situation is adapted for that purpose. 
A neat church has lately been erected at the ex- 
pense of the inhabitants, who are in general dis- 
liked by the chiefs 'and officers, owing to their 
resisting the pajrment of individual yasack, or pre- 
sents. This is surely an enhancement of their 

I quitted the village of Cliutchie, perfectly satis- 
fied with the character and conduct of its inhabit- 
ants. They preserve a great tenaciousness of their 
rights, and detestation of the injustice shown to, 
or advantage taken of, their neighbours, the abo- 
rigines. To prove this assertion, I need but men- 
tion that, with these Cliutchie peasants, I was 
obliged to pay in money for the hire of the dogs 
which drew me; a circumstance which had hap- 
pened to me no where else, and therefore carries 
the most undoubted proof of exactions, extortions, 
and cruelty, exercised upon the most innocent and 
inoffensive people in the world. My route lay 
from Cliutchie at first over some small lakes, and 
then along the banks of the Kamtchatka, which at 
this period of the year, 14th December, O.S., is 


but half frozen. At twenty-fire miles I reached 
the ostrog called Krestova, having three yonrtes 
and twenty*foar inhabitantd, nearly all of whom 
are confined by disease. I continued on with the 
same dogs to Onshkielova, thirty miles further, 
having four habitations and twenty individuals, 
most of whom also are debilitated : indeed, it is 
extraordinary what havoc the introduction of the 
small-pox, and another distemper, made at the 
ostrogs on the banks of the Kamtchatka. Re- 
markably fine and extensive meadow lands attend 
the traveller all the way from Cliutchie to Koze- 
rofsky, as well as noble forests of timber; and 
there are seasons when cattle might maintain 
themselves during the whole of the winter, the 
snow being then of no great depth ; yet there are 
but few heads of these necessary animals. The 
scenery to the southward, along the banks of the 
river^ is also of the most picturesque and sublime 
appearance. The magnificent peak, soaring to the 
clouds, has a fine effect when viewed from the bed 
of the river. 

Kozerofsky, forty miles beyond Oushkielova, 
contains five dwellings and thirty-six people, and 
is pleasantly situated. I continued along the river 
ICamtchatka for twelve miles, and then along that 
of the Tolbatchinsk, to an ostrog of the same mme. 


for thirty miles more. The latter part of the 
journey was through a crowded forest, and a thick 
fog, which occasioned me some serious blows, as 
the dogs made their rapid progress, now and then 
starting at the scent of a fox or sable. Tolbat- 
chinsk is a pretty little village with thirty inhabit- 
ants, and appears to be on the impr6vement ; the 
establishment is a new one, and almost secluded 
from the world. Stchappinat was the next village 
I came to. It is upon the Kamtchatka, at a deep 
and narrow part of the river, which was not yet 
frozen enough to bear the nartes. 1 crossed two 
other small rivers by bridges for that reason. The 
scenery was very beautiful ; a lofty range of moun- 
tains lay to the east^ with a good deal of fine tim- 
ber, while the flat country is one fine uninterrupted 
meadow, without a single cow to feed upon it. 
Stchappinat has seven dwellings and fifty-^two inha- 
bitants, and, it is said, the finest fish in the penin- 
sula, though but few are actually procured from it: 
they are considered so delicious, that the inhabit- 
ants send them to the seat of government as pre- 
sents to the chief and ofiicers. The causes of their 
comparative scarcity are probably the depth and 
rapidity of the river, as well as the smallness of the 
nets ; for unless the river be actually swarming with 
, fish, it is seldom that the inhabitants can provide- 


themselves with a sufficient supply, so little are 
they instructed in those arts which alone can tend 
to their preservation. 

To Massura are forty miles of a well-wooded 
country, and fine meadows upon the banks of the 
river. I almost flew the distance, being scarcely 
six hours in performing it. There are ten dwell- 
ings and sixty people, civil and hospitable to a pro- 
verb ; a considerable quantity of cattle are in the 
neighbourhood, feeding on a rich pasture, which 
runs to Kirgannick, twenty-five miles further, 
where I got sight of the magnificent mountain 
scenery overhanging Verchney Kamtchatsk. One 
sopka (peak) is especially remarkable. Milkova, 
a Russian peasant village, ten miles distant, con- 
taining fifteen houses, and one hundred and twenty 
inhabitants, received me next ; a neat place, abound- 
ing in cattle, if thirty or forty of them may consti- 
tute an abundance : there are, however, no animals 
of the chase. A handsome church has of late been 
erected under the auspices of Captain Golenistchefi^^ 
the second in command of the peninsula, whom I 
found expecting my arrival, with every friendship 
and preparation of comfort which Kamtchatka may 
be said to boast, viz. a cup of tea,- a glass of punchy 
and a pipe of tobacco. Having received these, I 
continued for Verchney Kamtchatsk, also a peasant 
village ; but was obliged to return, owing to the 


inefficiency of the dogs, although distant only 
eight miles : I at length reached it much fatigued, 
having come through a pretty place called Stche- 
gatchik, where some Cossacks are stationed to take 
care of a few heads of homed cattle, and four or 
five horses, which belong to the government. The 
situation is beautiful, on a branch of the Kamt- 
chatka, which makes a semicircular indentation 
into the land, just opposite to Verchney Kamt- 
chatsk, forming an island opposite to the junction 
of the Gatchick and Milkova. 

I procured fresh dogs at Verchney, a place on 
the decline, and proceeded tow^ds Cherom, twenty 
miles, situated in one of the most romantic and 
enchanting valleys in the peninsula. I there met 
with the ispravnick and eighteen nartes, engaged 
for the collection of the yasacks, public and private, 
as well as for trade. I felt gratified to meet them, 
as I received good news of my affairs at the seat of 
government ; and learnt also that there was a road 
before me to cross the desert, lying towards Malka, 
The ispravnick had been detained fourteen days 
in a storm, and he and all the party, men and dogs, 
were nearly p0rishing of hunger, having partaken 
of nothing but youkola (dried fish) for five days. 
Having exchanged dogs with another narte, I con- 
tinued on for Poustchin, twenty miles, and arrived 
before noon. The toion and I had a difference of 

6ANAL. 81 

opinion which I shall ever regret, as it arose from 
my ignorance of the proper character of the Kami- 
cbatdales. The poor man had heard of my coming, 
and had actually provided a good dinner for me, 
which I did not partake of, in consequence of his 
not inviting me: another poor man actually did 
invite me, and I entered his more humble dwelling. 
The toion was much surprised, and more vexed, 
at this slight, which tended to lower him in the 
opinion of his subjects. The 'fact proved to be, 
that the toion is really one of the oldest Kamt- 
chatdales, and was only complying with the ancient 
custom of the country, which is not to invite a 
stranger into his dwelling, considering that such 
stranger has the right not only to take it, but even 
to eject its owners. I left him with great regret 
that I could not stay another day to make him 
amends; I did, however, all I could, with this 

Ganal, forty-five miles from Poustchin, a roman- 
tic country, we passed in high glee at the near 
prospect of finishing my journey. The elevated 
ranges of mountains which form the Granal Valley 
have all flat summits. To the valley succeeds a 
level plane, very subject to storms and heavy falls 
of snow. I reached the place at nine in the even- 
ing. The inhabitants, amounting to thirty-two, 
live in four yourtes, and are all afflicted with the 

32 MALKA. 

disease so common to the peninsula; and the con^ 
tagion and want of medicine have been so great, 
that even the children are equally aiBicted, and 
the complaint of scrofula is become hereditary. 
In this part of the peninsula the chase is scarce, 
and the inhabitants mostly subsist upon fish, a few 
mountain-sheep, and wild rein-deer, being the only 
meat they taste from one end of the year to the 
other. The situation is fine, and highly produc- 
tive in fish; but at this moment there is not a 
sufficiency of people to t^nsact the ordinary busi- 
ness ; a circumstance which calls aloud for the 
compassion of the chief. 

From Ganal to Malka are thirty miles, the first 
ten of which are over a sterile mountainous coun- 


try, which is more than compensated by the suc- 
ceeding richness of a valley eighteen miles in length, 
I crossed several times the Bistra, a rapid stream, 
uniting with *the Bolshaya Reka, and was again 
obliged to become pilot, chief, and dog-master: 
however, I managed very well, and arrived early. 
Malka is deserving of little notice, yet is said to be 
celebrated for its baths ! The situation is magni- 
ficently grand ; the hospital stands in the bosom of 
a lofty chain of elevated mountains, at two miles 
from the village. I was welcomed by two old 
acquaintances, both of whom are doctors. Hav- 
juQg refreshed myself, I proceeded to examine th^ 

MALKA» 33 

hospitals and baths, all of which I found in a dis- 
graceful state of jQlthiness and decay* There are 
two hospitals ; one for the Kamtchatdales, and a 
smaller one for the accommodation of the officers. 
There are also two baths, both ill contrived, and 
in want of every necessary and convenience which 
persons who have recourse to them require. The 
hospitals a^e without medicines, and the baths 
witiiout flannel gowns, blankets, sheets, or towels 9 
nor is there even a warm passage for the patient 
from the bath to the hospital; he must come from 
a place where the atmosphere is equal to 25^ of 
heat, and pass through a current of air where there 
may be IS"" or 20** of frost. There never was a 
place where more could and ought to be, or where 
so little has been, done for the benefit of so 
wretched a people. The late chief doctor was five 
years in the command of this hospital, during which 
period he did nothing but keep his patients in- 
creasing in disease ; indeed it may be considered 
a fortunate circumstance for the Kamtchatdales, 
that the governor was obliged to send him as 
surgeon of Captain Yassilieff's ship, in lieu of the 
proper surgeon, who remained behind at sick 
quarters. Not even the most common vegetables 
have been raised; and but for a few cows, the 
benevolent present of Captain Bikord, the chief, I 
hardly know what there would be of the really 

VOL. u. D 

34 MAI4K.A. 

aseful for this eatabbskmonl, wUcb c^tgiQly Qweft 
nothing either to the induf^ or hoiQMitj of tbe 
doctor before alladed to. 

The state of some of those miaef^blB eje^tuvf^^ 
whom I saw in the hospital, was such 33 absolutely 
to prevent the dootor from dressing their woiwds i 
of course I am incapable of de^iaribiiig th^fidt 
They are allowed by the Eaipe^oiv o»^ pound of 
bread and half a pound of meat per day. They 
ba^ c^lso fish in abundance ; and wild berries <^^ 
to be found every wher^ round tbei pbc^^ The 
patients, being all afflicted with one disease^i are 
cramped up into one small $|mce, never to go out 
but at their own desire^ nor do any work, though 
they might raise an unlimited quantity of vegetables 
from the grounds covered with the warni vapoui^ 
In short, instead of being, as it is, a place caleu- 
lated to engend^ and noiurish disease almost to 
pestilence, it might be, at a trifling expense* and 
with proper care on the part of the he^d docto;iv 
one of the most humane and effictient estabiisb"- 
menti on the face of the globe. 

With respect to tli& nature and quality of tbi^ 
baths, they had a strong smell. of aulpjiiu^ wd 99 
unpleasant taste. The hot and cold springs ai^ 
united at the baths, and it- is a strange circumr 
stance, that the one should always ho bi^itiiig hot 
ill Xf> of ftost; wlttk the otter^ af^ 8Q* oC hoiKt^ i» 


always below the treesing point. These were the 
only remaiks my short stay, in the month of De- 
cember, eould enable me to make. I shoidd, 
however, in justice observe, that the present head 
doetor, if it be Mr. Gramatin, who was my sfaip- 
nate in the transport from Okotsk, is a man of 
great talents, perseverance, and industry; and 
had, previous to my leaving the peninsula, seven 
months after my arrival and visit to the hospital, 
cleared the place of three*foarths of ttie patients, 
and sent them to their homes quite' cured. He 
had no remedy but sui^ical operations, and sns- 
oeeded in first putting the patient to sleep, and 
then cutting out ail the afflicted parts. To the 
tmth. of this statement, extraordinary as it will 
doubtless appear in Russia, I b^ leave to add ike 
attestation of Dr. Zaerzerfskey, who was with me 
at the hospital at the time to which I allude. Dr. 
Gramatin is also celebrated as a poet ; some of his 
invocations to the Muses have already found their 
way from Kamtchatka to St. Petersburg. 

My route from Malka to St. Peter and St. 
Paul's was over a highly picturesque valley, and 
in beautiful weather. I soon reached Nachikin and 
Koraki, and, changing dogs, proceeded very plea- 
santly till midnight damped our satisfaction a little 
with a fall of snow. We halted to refresh the 
dogs, and lay down till the peep of dawn enabled 

D 2 


US to proceed, and we reached Avatcha by noon. 
But no dogs were to be procured there except 
three, which carried my little baggage ; I therefore 
proceeded on foot, and reached the haven at about 
three o'clock. My entry, alone and unperceived, 
was widely different from my departure: — my 
sensations were correspondent* In melancholy 
mood, leaving my betrothed for the sake of wan- 
dering over a long and painful journey; returning 
delighted to have done so before I should be made 
most happy, by finding that betrothed true, and 
all that I could desire, — ^but no more of this. 

Having thus completed the tour of the Penin- 
sula, it will be proper in this place to enter on 
its description, with that of its inhabitants, their 
manners, customs, &c. 


Genoral Obsarradons on the PetdmnU of Kuntchadni. 

Kamtghatka is a large peninsula of an ellip- 
tical figure, extending from the latitude of 5&* to 
SV" N. ; the breadth is inconsiderable. A magni- 
ficent chain of mountains, with numerous sopkas 
or peaks, extend from north to south, the whole 
length of the peninsula; from which mountains nu- 
merous rivers, large and small, find their way into 
the ocean. Of these the Kamtchatka is the only 
nayigable one, admitting vessels of one hundred 
tons as far as one hundred and fifty miles up the 
stream. All the rivers are, however, crowded 
with fish of superior flavour. There are also lakes 
of considerable size, and so numerous, that all 
intercourse between the several parts of the pe- 
ninsula is, during spring, summer, and autumn, 
effectually precluded. 

The productions of the country are few, but va- 
luable. There is an abundance of wood, as fit for 
ship-building as for general use. The finest tim- 


ber is found on the banks of the Kamtchatka, Ye- 
lof ka, and eastern coast ; but the climate is such 
as to induce me to believe that neither com nor 
veg^etables will ever attain to great perfection, the 
soil in all seasons, at the depth of twenty-four 
to thirty inches, being frozen. Potatoes never 
ripen, cabbages never come to a head, and peas 
only flower ; but turnips and radishes thrive ama- 
zingly. Grass of the most nutritious quality is 
found in the greatest abundance, as well in the 
numerous meadows as in the forefits. It grows to 
lbs height of between five and six feet, and in 
some places three crops are produced within the 

Winter may be said to occupy near one half cdT 
the year, — spring and summer the other half. The 
winters are mild when compared to those of Sibe- 
ria; the thermometer never descending, in the 
southern parts of the peninsula, below 20^ of 
Reaumur, and seldom below 12"* and 15®. Spring 
is the most agreeable time, just when the leaves 
put forth, and it is then the fishing commences. 
The summer is the most disagreeable portion of 
the year, owing to the heavy rains and heavier fogs 
which come from the eternally snow-clad moun- 
tains. The greatest heat is in JFuly, when the 
thermometer is at 27'' and 28° of Reaumur. The 
snow lying upon the iproond seven md eight 


months, will silfficiently succonnt for tfae #£uit (X 
euItivatioD ; but, indeed, the Iretnainiilg four cim 
hatdly be considered as equal to more than two 
months in otfaet places ; fot* the sun at St. Pet^ 
and St. Paul's has no effect Upon the earth durifig 
more than four hours of the day, and, from the 
iddnense height of the mountains, it is only from 
ten o'clock until two that any heat is felt. 

This absence of heat, and these bbanges df cK- 
mate, with the very heavy fogs, which account fbr 
tiie Sterility of the soil, operate also to prevent the 
inhabitants from laying in a sufficient store of 
winter provisions, which, as they consist of fii^h, 
ate exposed to the ^h* to dry, and in a short tim^ 
becomes so rotten and maggotty, that but u small 
quantity can be made serviceable fbr the consump- 
tion df the people ; the rest is retained for the dogs. 
Salt is at present issued, but not in sufficient 
quantities; were that article more liberally dis- 
tributed, the peoflle might in some y^ars prepillrfe 
fi^h to last them several successive ones. F^m 
the quantity now supplied by the king Of the 
Bandwich islands, it is to be hoped that the fll^t 
productive season will be taken advantage of. 

Of wild vegetables, some of Whidh are mi^ed 
trith the bark of trees for the fare df the inhabitatiiti, 
(here is an abundance in Kiimtbhatka, und there is 
fib doubt that greehs, turnips, dtkd radiAes, mijfbt, 


with a little trouble^ be every where produced. 
Wild berries and wild garlick abound ; the latter 
is exported to Okotsk and Yakutsk : this plant is 
one of the finest antiscorbutics known, but has a 
peculiarly ofiensive smell. 

The principal riches of Kamtchatka may be said 
to consist in the animals of the chase, of which 
there is so prodigious a number, that there are 
not sufficient inhabitants to take them. The most 
valuable are foxes of various colours, a few sea 
and more river otters, with an immense number of 
sables. Bears, wolves, rein-deer, and mountain- 
sheep, and sometimes a few lynxes, are also to be 
found. The number of skins annually exported 
and consumed in the peninsula maybe about thirty 
thousand, of which sables and foxes form the prin- 
cipal part. The sables are considered at once the 
warmest and the coarsest known ; the foxes, how- 
ever, especially the fiery red, are of the finest spe- 
cies. Next to these furs, the dogs of Kamtchatka 
may be considered as forming a great part of their 
riches. These faithful and useful animals are 
employed to transport fish, supply the house with 
water, the cattle with hay, — in short, to do all the 
work that horses perform in England. They are 
fed as circumstances may dictate, being always left 
to shift for themselves firom June to October. 
They are of a coarse appearance, in shape resem- 


bling a common house-dog, but endaed with great 
sagacity, and it is to be regretted that they are not 
relieved a little by the importation of horses. 

Independent of fish and wild animals, the 
Kamtchatdales derive also a considerable benefit 
from the surprising quantities of geese, ducks, 
swans, snipes, and wild cocks. They are preserved 
by dipping them in water, which freezing, they 
will be good as long as winter continues ; at other 
times they are salted. The ducks and snipes are 
most excellent: but the geese, swans, and wild 
sheep are considered venison, and of the most 
delicious kind, too, by those who are termed 
epicures ; for myself, although I have frequently 
partaken of them, I never could relish their flesh. 
The Kamtchatdales also derive great benefit from 
the whales, which are numerous, and which, being 
encoimtered by the kasatka, for the sake of the 
tongue, as is supposed, are killed and cast ashore. 
Upon the whole, therefore, there are no people at 
whose disposition Providence has placed more of 
the necessaries of life, than the inhabitants of 
Kamtchatka. For their direct subsistence they 
have fish, flesh, and fowl, wild berries and roots in 
great variety and abundance, sufficient, doubtless, 
to maintain a large population ; while for clothing, 
ihey have immense quantities of furs of the 
warmest and most durable kind ; and for firing 


Atid building^, wood h evety vh«ire to h6 h»d in ihd 
utmoist proflisioii. 

Sach beikig the case. It becomes a matter df 
sj^culatiott, what cotlld induce the aborigines to 
lite in that filthy and famished condition whidh 
fbrmetly characterized them. Was it firom an 
Oterabnndant population, or the want of means to 
possess themselves of food — such as gnnis, tiets, and 
traps ? That they had means to entrap game and 
fi^h for a certain proportion of the inhabitants, 
there can be no doubt ; bat whether sufficient for a 
large population, is very questionable. 

Of the people in general, I can only day they 
are as amiable and honest as ever. They are now 
established in villages, all built in the old Russian 
style, which are clean and comfortable. During 
the summer, or fishing, season, they leave their 
winter residences for the balagans or placeis which 
they use for drying their fish. Thus the summeir 
is employed in preparing food against the winter, 
which latter is taken up in the chase. Beyond this, 
the Kamtchatdale is still the same lazy, drunkeu, 
servile animal as formerly. Their ancient language 
is hot forgotten, but is so far out of use, that thete 
are few Wh5 do not speak Russian. Most of tlie 
aborigines are baptized, and may be said to live as 
the Russians do. Hhe number of real Kamtofaact- 
Acdes who retain their aUCieUt usages is ^mall. 


Thej residD ou the Jiorthecn coasts beyond Tjrgil 
and Nisfaney Kamtchatsk. Hospitality is the most 
striking featare in their character ; but tiiey ate 
ako distingoiBhed by their strict adherence to 
truth, and their honesty is proverbial. Without 
being forward to complain of ilUtreatmenf , they 
will fearlessly recount it when questioned. They 
are in part goTerned by their own toions or chiefs^ 
bat an annual visit is made to each village by the 
ispravnicky or chief judge, as well for the purpose 
of oolleoting sables as of administering justice and 
deciding quarreh. 

Their dress is the same as formerly, that for th6 
winter season being made of the skins of beasts ; 
bat in summer they wear nankeens, and at present 
there is hardly a Kamtchatdale who does not wear 
a shirt. The women have also adopted the Russian 
head-dress, the articles for which are procured 
fipom the pedlars at a most exorbitant rate. It is 
surprising that this people, who have now been 
feeling the extreme of oppression from neglect and 
maladministration for one hundred and twenty 
years, should not have become wiser and more 
economical in their habits ; on the contrary, oue 
might suppose they were a people but yesterday 
discovered. They will part with the most valuable 
imrs for a tri£Qog article or a glass of spirits. 


I need say nothing of their superstitions, as 
they are nearly at an end. They now place^as 
much reliance upon the efforts of the priests, as 
they formely did on their shamanes, with this 
difference only, — that to the former they give many 
furs, while to the latter they only gave a hearty 

Of laws they have but few of their own, their 
motto being something like that of the Chinese, 
" to return evil for evil, and good for good." At 
present they await the arrival of the chiefs of an 
officer, or of a commissary, with a great deal of 
ceremony, giving him the best lodging, and 
acknowledging, if I may so say, his supremacy. 
Formerly, it appears, they lived in a perfect state 
of equality and independence of each other, age 
and expertness in hunting alone being held in 
estimation or respect. 

The Kamtchatdales are now supplied with culi- 
nary utensils and every thing they can require by 
the Russians ; and as they live exactly in the same 
manner, and in the same description of houses 
with the latter, I need only refer my readers to 
an account of a Russian village ; in their outward 
appearance there is no difference whatever. They 
seem a race disburthened of all care and conside- 
ration for the future, and entirely resigned to any 


fate which may await them, whether it be oppres- 
sion, starvation, or disease. 

In my opinion, and I speak it most sincerely, 
the aborig^es have not deTed mnch benefit from 
the conqnest of their conntry by the Bnssians, as 
even their conyersion to Christianity has done little 
other goody than entitled them to the name of 
Christians. The great number of priests and 
deacons (twenty-six in number) wonld, I presume, 
suggest an expectation of more learning and pie^ 
in this part of the world than in other semi- 
barbarous places ; but really I have neyer seen any 
good effects from the labours of these reverend 
gentlemen. Certainly there is no population cor- 
responding to the number of ecclesiastics^ as will 
sq>pear on considering that the whole Kamtchatdale 
population does not exceed, male and female, two 
thousand seven hundred and sixty, while their dogs 
amount to two thousand two hundred and eight. 
The number of Russians is one thousand two hun- 
dred and sixty. The inhabitants north of Tygil 
and Nishney Kamtcfaatsk are four hundred and 
ninety-eight, while in the Koriak villages there are 
one hundred souls ; making a population of four 
thousand five hundred and seventy-four, men, 
women, and children, Russians, Kamtchatdales, 
and Koriaks. Whether the original population has 


Bot decreased ia a surpiisiiig degree, is a questios 
I shall not answer, farther than by reminding mj 
readena that, at the discovery of Kaatobatka» we are 
told ia the Rnsiiao history that no less than one 
bvadred and six^teen villages were on the banks of 
the river Kamtchatka, The amall-pox, and its rival 
distemper, with other diseases, and above all the 
flfdrit of persecution which has been unremittingly 
pvaotiaod towards these poor people, have been the 
several causes of the de^opulatiQii. Of late, how* 
evev, I can with certainty say the populatiera has 
•ot decreased ; this may be owing to the ben^lts 
arisii^from vaccination, as well as somewhat better 
medical attendants. But altbengh populatioi^ has 
of late kept its maximmB. it may he a queatioa 
whether the aborigines have not decreased in the 
some ratio that the Bossians and convicts hav« 
increased. At present there are several Yakotas 
well as Russian exiles in the peninsula, neither of 
whom can be of much benefit ; but both assistii^ to 
persecute and plunder the Kamtchatdales. 

Of the histavy and origin of l^e Kamtohatdales 
little p€M9itive has ever been known, and that oidy 
fer the last one hundred and thirty years* Kamt^ 
ckalka is^ supposed to have been visited by some 
Ruse»ans in 1649> when one of the traveller 
fieshneff's resseis was wracked on its coast; Tbooe 


Bussiw^ lived with tbem in peace for a coii«idera* 
Ue period of time ; but, quarrelling among them* 
selves, were murdered. Nothing more is l^nown 
Mi the place, until Vladimir Atla38Qf discovered th^ 
fieqiaaula in his excursions from the Anadjr ; from 
whioh time a constant petty warfare continued 
WtweeQ the Buasians wd natives, until the general 
r^vcdl and massacre in 1731« Since this periodt 
the peninsula has uot been greatly troubled with 
either conspiracies or massacres. Little doubt cun 
ej^i^t that the {l^amtchatdales are of Asiatic origin: 
of thia, their features and customs, as well as their 
dwa^sh size, are evident tokens* I have read 
neveral diwiertations upon the sut(]ect» but disagree 
with most of them. My own opinion is formed 
from ocular- demonstration alone, and not from a 
itady of the circumstances under which they laheur. 
Their having progressed from America is indeed a 
ridiculous idea; «md their having learnt many 
secjeta. as causing fire hy friction* &c. from the 
mfaahitantp of the. opposite continent, i& just as 
l^obable a» the ether sagacioua notions, that thej 
were the. teacber«» How, in either case, could they 
pass that formerly ferocious and warlike race the 
Tcihuk,t<^hi ? Qr if they had come from the north 
of $iberia» from Irkutsk or Yakutsk by Qkotsk 
99A Idgigfb liew did they pass, the stiU more fierce 
w& herbMouA KoiiuksL? The idea is abanrd; mi 


the only one I can for a moment entertain is, that 
they are a Mongole tribe, who were driven down 
the Amour, and passing along the Kurile Isles, 
reached Kamtchatka. A few of the same race are 
still the inhabitants of those isles, with a dialect of 
the same language, originating from the Mongo 
lian; and the only difference between them and 
the Kamtchatdales is, that they are a more manly, 
and consequently a more independent, race ; for of 
all the people at present existing, I believe the 
natives of this peninsula to be the most affable and 
hospitable ; but, at the same time, the most cow- 
ardly and insensible. I never saw in any part of 
the world a people more abused, under the sanction 
of a proverb, now become almost a principle, 
** God is high, and the Emperor far off." 

Their modes of fishing and hunting, and such 
productions of the country as I have not noticed, 
may be found in Cook's and other travels. I will 
therefore proceed to compare the present happiness 
of the people of this peninsula, with that which 
they formerly enjoyed. In the first place, -as to 
their possessions in horses and horned cattle. — It 
appears by the last census, that there are but one 
hundred and nine of the former, and nine hundred 
and sixty-eight of the latter, in the whole peninsula; 
two-thirds of which are in the hands of the Rus- 
sians, and but three hundred and ninety-three 


head of cattle in the possession of three thousand 
four hundred Kamtchatdales and Koriaks. It is 
to be regretted that the flattering prospects held 
out by Captain King have not been realized. The 
introduction of horses and homed cattle would 
much tend to ameliorate the condition of the people, 
were they once imported upon a large scale. The 
dogs, like the aborigines, are on the decline, and 
probably twenty or thirty years more will leave 
nothing, in Kamtchatka, but the Russians and ani- 
mals of the chase. When it is recollected that 
Kamtchatka has such magnificent and extensive 
meadows, and that the climate is not severe ; and 
when it is considered with what facility government 
might send, each year, two or three thousand heads 
of young cattle, by the annual transports, to 
Tygil, — ^it may be naturally supposed that the dif- 
ferent chiefs have been attending more to their 
personal concerns than to those of the peninsula. 
That the place might be made even to flourish, 
there can be no reasonable doubt. 

The expenses of the colony have been very great 
to Russia, and must continue so, as long as the 
present plan is persisted in. The yasack amounts 
to a less sum of money than the single maintenance 
of a chief. Five hundred heads of foxes, or sables, 
worth six thousand roubles, or three hunchred 
pounds, is the amount ; while the expenses of the 

vov II. E 


colony cannot fall short of two hundred thousand 
roubles, or ten thousand pounds. 

The depopulated state of this peninsula is also 
to be attributed to other causes. Their continual 
wars and insurrections greatly thinned them; and 
these were followed by the introduction of the 
$]nall-pox, which, in the year 1768, carried off no 
less than six thousand persons ; and twenty thou- 
sand are supposed to have fallen victims to it 
within a short period. Yet at this moment there 
is a want of vaccinating matter ; nor is it a ques- 
tionable assertion, that the quality of medicines, in 
the hospitals, is shamefully adulterated, and the 
quantity small. The present worthy chief has, 
however, caused an inquiry to be made upon this 
subject, and the result has been transmitted to go- 
vernment. But it is not the small-pox alone that 
the arrival of the Russians introduced into this 
place ; the distemper before alluded to has made, 
and .continues to make, most dreadful ravages in 
every part of the peninsula, very few families 
being free from the taint^ and no part of the world 
can show more miserable objects of its fury. The 
whole race, indeed, look like beings better qualified 
to extinguish than propagate the human species ; 
nor is this surprising, considering their present 
state> almost without hospitals, medicines, or at- 
tendants, save that ill-managed house at Malka. 



Besides these two diseases, the inhabitants of 
Kamtchatka are subject to all those which make 
havoc in countries where the people are ordinarily 
ill-fed, ill-clothed, and liable to famine. The last 
has frequently visited this peninsula, more from a 
want of people than of food ; for fish is not always 
to be had upon both sides of the peninsula at the 
same time, and they have not the means of trans- 
porting the superabundant quantity to the opposite 

Another great cause of this ravage in popula- 
tion has arisen from the introduction of spirits : a 
Kamtchatdale will sell bis last sable or fox for a 
glass of it, though he is not physically . strong 
enough to drink any thing of the kind. When it 
is considered that sixteen thousand bottles of this 
trash are consumed in the short period of three or 
four months, by six or seven hundred people, we 
may well feel pity and surprise, — pity for the poor 
women and children, and surprise at the means of 
getting either the Bioney or sables. Such a quan- 
tity of spirit ought to sell for fifty thousand rou- 
bles, which is one hundred per cent, upon the 
price at Okotsk; but it is, in reality, sold for twice 
that sum. When it is recollected that officers, 
soldiers, sailors, merchants, and priests travel round 
the peninsula for the purpose of trade, it will be 
less wonderful when I assert, that each bottle of 

E 2 


spirits sold to the Kamtchatdales, produces the 
value of ten and twelve shillings. Now, allowing 
half the quantity imported (eight thousand bottles) 
to be consumed b; the aborigines, this would pro- 
duce from eighty to one hundred thousand roubles; 
while the cost is, in Okotsk, only twenty-five thou- 
sand. I have seen a bottle of spirits sold for a 
sable, and afterwards, when the party was drunk, 
a bottle of adulterated liquor has fetched the same 
price : in short, I have seen three and even four 
sables given for two bottles of spirits. 

Allowing seven hundred and fifty families of the 
Koriaks and Kamtchatdales, which is five to each 
family, and that half the quantity of imported 
spirit is consumed by them, it will appear that 
each family consumes, at least, twelve bottles in 
four months. By this plan the poor purchaser is 
drunk for days together, and for the rest of the year 
can get nothing to cheer him under his depression. 
The cost of that spirit, to the Kamtchatdales, is one 
hundred and fifty or two hundred roubles ; a pro- 
digious sum for a poor family to expend upon an 
article so pernicious in its moral and physical ef- 
fects. Such a sum of money, in Kamtchatka, would 
produce near six or eight hundred pounds weight 
of flour ; enough to support a small family during 
a whole year : or such a sum would enable them to 
purchase proper clothing, culinary utensils, nets^ 


twine, tobacco, axes, and knives. The evil of 
these grog-shops is carried, to so ruinous an extent, 
that the children of the natives are left for three 
and four days without any food, save youkola 
(dried fish), doled out to them once or twice within 
that time. I have known instances of mothers and 
children being left without any means of support, 
in consequence of the retailing of such trash being 
allowed. The youkola and the bark of trees is, in 
sucb cases, almost the only nourishment the women 
and children can procure for several days. If 
they happen to be possessed of a cow, they are con- 
sidered very fortunate. It needs little philosophy 
to prove, that it is only by taking care of the rising 
generation that the stock itself can be preserved, 
which will not long be possible, if spirit continue 
to be transported and retailed out as it now is. — 
While making these reflections in England, I am 
aware that the Russian government have desisted 
from this trade ; but this is only the worse for the 
Kamtchatdales, inasmuch as the pedlars take an 
extra quantity, and demand a most exorbitant 
price for a spirit infinitely inferior : the only efiec- 
tual check is indiscriminate prohibition ; a prohibi- 
tion which ought also to extend to Okotsk. 

The abuses arising from the collection of the 
yasack are most cruel. The yasack itself is incon- 
siderable, but, from the arbitrary manner in which 


it is collected, it is rendered odious and oppressive. 
The tribute is levied in kind, at any low or capri* 
cious valuation ; and it has not unfrequently hap- 
pened that the toion of a village, who does not 
properly compliment the chief, or other officer, 
upon the annual visit, has so small a price put 
upon his furs, in payment of their tribute, that 
they sustain a loss of two, three, and even four 
hundred per cent. I have seen sables valued at 
half-a-crown for which the merchants present would 
have given twelve shillings. Independent of the 
yasack, each Kamtchatdale has to pay seventy 
copecs, or seven pence, as a sort of capitation or 
poll-tax; upon failure of which, the ispravnick may 
have recourse to the most arbitrary and unjust 
measures. Any property may be seized and sold 
on the moment, — such as axes, knives, nets, guns, 
kettles, or the clothing of the family ; and it has 
often happened that a poor family have been ruin- 
ed through the cruel and oppressive conduct of 
these tax-gatherers, not from a deficiency of the 
legal dues, but of illegal dues. The mode of tax- 
ation in each ostrog is also hig^hly objectionable, 
and sometimes rendered cruel. They are not taxed 
as a people, but as a place ; and it not unfrequently 
happens that the village which formerly contained 
forty or fifty able people, and was taxed as such, 
does not the following year contain more than 


twenty or twenty-five, in consequence of illneifs or 
removals. There is, however, no remedy ; the yasaok 
of the whole must be paid by the few. It is also 
not a little singular that each ostrog is taxed in 
money, and yet money cannot be received : the 
duplicity of this act is too apparent to be mention- 
ed, yet it would seem that the government must 
be unacquainted with a fact of the kind, for the 
difference, in the amount of the tribute, would not 
equal one hundred pounds. Instead of the sum of 
money at which each village is rated, the inhabit- 
ants are obliged to pay furs, at one fourth the value. 
Sables of the finest quality, and worth forty shil- 
lings a pair, are never averaged at more than ten. 
It would be more honest to increase the nominal 
tribute of money, or put a specific tax on furs, 
which would be felt less severely, because an ap- 
pearance of candour would accompany it. 

The next galling tax is that levied for the tax- 
gatherer himself; and this is a greater grievance than 
that levied on behalf of the Emperor, and under 
more humiliating circumstances. Each ostrog, and 
each toion or chief of it, is also compelled to pay 
the same tribute to his actual chief as to the Em- 
peror himself; so that the yasack is de facto ^aid 
at least five times over. 

Nor is the impolitic system of collecting the 
tribute more injurious than that arising from 


forced or gratuitous services, such as the forward- 
ing of the post, the transport of flour and salt, and 
the issuing of padvodies, or forced levies of horses 
or dogs, to officers and favourites. This is, indeed^ 
an intolerable abuse, and calls loudly for redress. 
There can be no doubt but that, if the proprietors 
of dogs were rewarded at a proper time, and in a 
proper manner, they would as much court the em- 
ployment as they now abhor it. According to the 
present plan, the natives lose their time, their dogs, 
their health, and their provisions. Any favourite 
or officer, who may wish to trade, is furnished with 
one of these free billets, which authorizes him, 
upon the plea of public duty, to call out men and 
dogs ; while the manner of the officer or favourite 
seems to intimate, that he confers an obUgation 
upon the chief of the village by his acceptance of 
a couple of sables as a present. Nor is this all : 
not content with the present, the party travelling 
has the privilege of trading, and buying just as 
many more sables as the poor aboriginal may have 
caught, and which are invariably sold for just such 
a consideration as the officer may incline to give. 

If a governor or officer be compelled to travel 
upon public service, and if he receives from the 
Crown a sum of money to pay travelling expenses, 
it seems very strange that such money is not paid 
to these poor people. As little can I understand 


why a post should travel gratis : surely the poorest 
and most distant part of the Russian empire should 
not be oppressed in such a manner. It is true, the 
sum paid by the government to officers when tra- 
velling is small, as well as that paid to the postilion 
when in charge of the post ; but small as it is in 
itself, it would be acceptable to those to whom it 
would appear much. As to officers' travelling, for 
which there is no public necessity, they can at best 
but reap the advantages belonging to the fair 
trader, who is not inconsiderably taxed. I have 
heard an officer of high rank assert, that every 
voyage from Kamtchatka to Okotsk and back again, 
was worth ten thousand roubles, or five hundred 
pounds ; and I believe he spoke the truth. 

With respect to the pedlars, here denominated 
merchants, they, in truth, ought to be taxed 
severely, as well in regard to the goods they bring 
as the price at which they are sold, the articles 
being such as are of light burthen, or will return 
the greatest profit. The ignorance of the ab- 
origines is such, and their thoughtlessness of the 
future so great, that they prefer present luxuries 
to future necessities. The quantity of articles 
hawked about by the merchants consists of to- 
bacco, spirits, silks, tea, sugar, nankeen, and cotton 
handkerchiefs. Every Kamtchatdale keeps open 
house, and, upon the arrival of a Russian, his door 


is held open, the owner standing by it uncovered, 
and awaiting the ^ntry of his noble guest, who, 
making an obeisance to the kasaika, or landlady, 
passes on to the most comfortable part of the 
dwelling, and divesting himself of the unwieldy 
clothing so necessary in this part of the world, calls 
aloud for dinner or supper, as the time may be, 
orders food for his dogs, eats and drinks well, has 
a bed prepared for him, and takes breakfast, con- 
sisting of fine game, fish, and the like. The inter- 
mediate time is employed in extorting three or four 
hundred per cent, profit for his goods, and the only 
remuneration to his host is a glass of spirits, or a 
leaf of tobacco, in some cases not even a ** thaiik 
ye," although stress of weather has, unfortunately 
for them, detained him to partake of their hospi- 
tality for a week or more. 

Were the merchants compelled to take more 
woollens and linens, some flour or oatmeal, with a 
sufficient quantity of axes, knives, kettles, twine, 
nets, and other implements of great necessity, there 
would be less objection to their proceeding round 
the peninsula, and less inducement for officers to 
do so. Tobacco, it is true, is an article of great 
demand as well as of great necessity; tea and sugar 
are also in considerable demand, though, probably, 
too much money is lavished upon both thes^e 
articles by the Kamtchatdales ; as also upon silks, 


naakeens, and fine cottons. A great ben6fit would 
arise from the establishment of a general fair in 
Eamtchatka, to be held at St. Peter and St. Paul's^ 
as well as from two or three provincial fairs, to be 
held upon a certain day at certain places. Among 
the people who also travel round the peninsula of 
Kamtchatka, are doctors and parsons. They are 
both extremely troublesome; for while the one 
affects to prepare the soul, and the other the body, 
both, I believe, are more' concerned in fleecing the 
thoughtless aboriginal, and in depriving him of the 
means of support. 

The quantity of convicts sent amongst a people 
so susceptible of imposition, is also a serious griev- 
ance. The convicts, as Russians, have an indirect 
ascendancy over the Kamtchatdales, which is exer- 
cised in a most intolerant and infamous manner. 
The convicts frequently desert, and commit every 
species of villainy and outrage, even to the fomenting 
of insurrections. This was the case during my stay 
in the peninsula ; nor are the Kamtchatdales so 
dull, but that they remember Count Benjofsky 
with horror. If the government of Russia really 
feel interested in the prosperity of Kamtchatka, 
and I do not doubt it, they have an easy mode of 
effecting it, by transplanting thither two or three 
thousand Yakuti, with their cattle. They are an 
industrious, ingenious, and peaceable people ; and, 


being excellent herdsmen, they coald not, of course, ' 
but thrive in a country of such extensive and rich 

I cannot refrain from mentioning what appears 
to me a most desirable plan of administering a 
direct, and yet inexpensive, relief to these poor 
people : — Let the yasack be totally abolished, and 
let each family of the aborigines be compelled to 
take from the government one pood of flour per 
month, at the price, say, of a sable or fox-skin. 
The result wovld be, that government would issue 
an extra six thousand poods of flour, at an expense 
of sixty thousand roubles ; in return for which they 
would receive six thousand skins, ijrorth at least 
ninety thousand roubles ; leaving a gross profit of 
four times the price of the present yasack. and 
actually assisting the Kamtchatdales by the aban- 
donment of a direct tax of half the amount— to say 
nothing of the benefits which would accrue from 
such a measure to the females and children, who are 
now left for many days without tasting any other 
food than bad fish, or the bark of trees. I do not 
know what effect a poll-tax may have upon the 
animal frame, but it appears to be no incitement to 
procreation. In Kamtchatka it is the same as in 
Mexico ; a single man pays a heavy tax, a married 
man a heavier, and a father the heaviest of all. 
Such conduct is bad policy on the part of govern- 


ment, and carries with it more the appearance of a 
wish to extinguish than to increase the population 
of Siberia. 

I have already commented upon the evil effects 
arising from forced levies and forced services ; of 
the transport of flour, salt, spirits, the post, as well 
as officers, from one place to another, without any 
remuneration to the inhabitants. Of the conduct 
of these travelling gentlemen, high and low, it will 
be sufficient to give a specimen. The officer, upon 
arriving at a village, is received by the toion, or 
chief, and conducted to the warmest and cleanest 
part of the yourte. His upper garments are taken 
from him, cleared of the snow, and put out in the 
open air for the night; it being understood that 
the colder the dress is put on in a cold country, 
the warmer it ultimately becomes. The landlady, 
or toionsha, is also engaged in scraping the boots 
of the travellers, to prevent the heat of the room 
from melting the snow which adheres to them. 
The best provisions are then got ready as fast as 
possible, either for dinner or supper, a.> the time 
m^y suit. The toion then comes in with a reluctant 
smile and a pair of handsome sables, and, bowing 
to the officer, places them upon the table for his 
acceptance. Dinner being at length served up, 
the officer may be considerate enough to give the 
toion a glass of spirits, as also to permit the family 


to partake of the tea-leavings. Having finished 
his dinner, the officer asks the toion if the chase 
has been good, and how many sables he has got,-* 
probably, two, four, or six — which he accordingly 
takes for as many handkerchiefs, pieces of nankeen, 
pounds of tobacco, or a small quantity of tea and 
sugar. The dogs of the village are at last ordered 
out, and the officer departs, in perfect complacency 
with his conduct and condescending demeanour. 

I have never been able to ascertain the exact 
number of animals annually caught in the peninsula, 
but suppose they cannot fall short of thirtjr 
thousand, worth at least two hundred thousand 
roubles. One out of every forty is supposed to be 
paid to the Emperor upon their arrival at Okotsk ; 
but it is very difficult to insure any payment of 
such a tax except from the regular traders, and 
they also manage to defraud the government of the 
proper dues. The value of the furs varies ; a 
sea-otter is worth thirty-five pounds ; a river-otter, 
two pounds ; a black fox, twenty pounds ; black 
and white fox, ten pounds ; brown fox, two pounds ; 
a common fox, twelve shillings ; and a white or 
blue fox, as little as two shillings and sixpence ;. 
sables vary from eight to twelve shillings. For 
these bread is bartered at eight shillings the pood ; 
tea at twelve shillings the pound ; sugar four 
shillings, and tobacco three shillings, the pound : in 


Aott, no article is sold for less than four handred 
per cent, profit upon the actual expense of fetching 
it from Canton ; with the advantage, in that case, 
of procuring all sorts of coarse cottons, nankeens, 
and handkiorchiefs, besides iron utensils. 

The American Company might and ought to 
contract with the government for supplying flour to 
Okotsfc, Idgiga, and Kamtchatka, for which about 
forty thousand poods are annually required. Their 
abundance of unemployed vessels would also enable 
them to furnish the aborigines with every thing they 
require, at a cheap, and yet a profitable, rate. But 
such is the pertinacity and jealousy of those com- 
posing that body, that they will do nothing, even to 
benefit themselves, if it be also of benefit to others; 
mid thus a trade with Manilla, Canton, the South 
Sea islands, California, Calcutta, and Japan, as well 
as the establishment of a whale fishery, are sacrificed ; 
and the eastern frontiers of the Russian empire 
remain in their original barren, impoverished, and 
savage state, instead of boasting a flourishing trade, 
carried on by a civilized, organized, and friendly 
population. The produce of the above-mentioned 
places might be warehoused in Kamtchatka, and in 
the ensuing summer be transported to Okotsk, and 
thence over all Siberia. 

The drying and salting of fish, the felling of 
timb^ for furniture, and the countenancing of 


agricultural pursuits, could not fail of benefiting 
Kamtchatka ; but the whale fishery would, above 
all things, redound to the honour and interest of 
Russia. It may not be amiss to add, that the 
importation of foreign com would much assist the 
Yakuti ; its immediate effect would be to save the 
lives of twenty thousand horses, which are annu- 
ally sacrificed by hard work or famine. Formerly, 
when the horses were more numerous, from eighty 
to one hundred thousand were annually employed 
between Okotsk and Yakutsk by the merchants, 
the American Company, and the government ; at 
present, there are not more Ifaan thirty thousand. 
Of these at least one half are sacrificed, and the 
remainder rendered unfit for a second trip. The 
whole number of horses annually sacrificed in Sibe- 
ria does not, it is said, fall short of fifty thousand ; 
so that, ere long, they will also be extinct, and, with 
them, the very being of the Yakuti, who are even 
now going down in an equal ratio. 

Much benefit has been derived to the colony 
from the exertions of the present chief, Captain 
Bikord. The rule of never allowing a cow to be 
killed until she is past calving, is in itself excellent; 
but the stock on hand is so small that a century 
would elapse before what can be termed herds 
of cattle could be seen wandering and feasting 
upon the almost unbounded plistures of the 


peninsula. What the different chiefs have been 
doing for the last fifty years, Heaven alone knows ! 
When Captains King and Clarke were here, they 
seem to have taken it for granted, or to have been 
informed, that cattle of all descriptions were in a 
flourishing state. From the proximity of Okotsk 
to Tygil, a couple of transports might, in one 
summer, transport at least one thousand head of 
cattle, which, repeated for ten years, would place 
the peninsula in an absolutely enviable situation. 
This act of humanity would be attended with no 
expense to the government ; on the contrary, it 
might be made advantageous to the government 
as well as the Kamtchatdales, who would willingly 
pay the value in sables, and the result would be, 
that no part of the vast Russian empire would be 
richer, or better provided with food of various 
descriptions, than the distant province of Kamt- 

Upon the banks of the Kamtchatka, where the 
l^d lies distant from the salt water, and sheltered 
by the mountains from the east winds, as well as 
on those banks which have been enriched by the 
lava emitted by the volcanoes, — barley, oats, and 
rye have been produced ; but, in no instance, with 
so much success as to pay the labour. The pro- 
ductions, it is true, have been a little more varied, 
and a little riper, but rarely consumable. In spite 




of thig fact, the gazettes of St. Petersburg formally 
and officially announce this year, that a quartern of 
rye produced nine quarterns, and that the size or 
weight- of a common potatoe was three quarters of 
a pound. Three quarters of an ounce would be a 
sufficient tax upon credulity ; I have no hesitation 
in saying that both these reports are fabulous in 
every sense of the word, for I have never seen a 
potatoe in the whole province either ripe, or larger 
than a hen's egg. 

If large herds of cattle were distributed on the 
banks of the Kamtchatka, and other favoured 
places, with the benefit of manure, agricultural 
implements, and knowledge, no doubt the soil 
might be made to answer the purpose. I cer- 
tainly cannot conceive the climate of Kamtchatka 
to be such as, of itself, to preclude the pursuit of 
agriculture in some of its minor branches^ as I 
consider the soil to be much superior to that of 
Connecticut, or Massachusetts, or either of our 

In the vicinity of Avatcha are to be seen, what 
are by some termed artificial enclosures, within 
which cattle were formerly maintained ; but I con- 
clude them to be natural enclosures, formed by 
the overflowing of the rivers. My reason is, that 
no enclosure is to be found upon the land side, but 
only on the borders of the rivers, and small 


streams, and there they are perfect; and we 
are generally informed that the Kamtchatdales 
possessed no other domestic animals than dogs. 
Some individual has of late thought proper to fa- 
vour the public of Russia, with an account of the 
happy and prosperous state of the Kamtchatdales, 
previous to the invasion of their country by the 
Russians ; — whence he took his text I know not, 
but I cannot believe that a large population, with 
slender means of subsistence, and less knowledge, 
could ever have been maintained in happiness or 

Before entirely closing .these remarks respecting 
Kamtchatka and its grievances, I may jast advert 
to one or two points not hitherto dwelt on. The 
children of the natives receive no education, and 
the children of the Russians but little more. 
There certainly is a school existing in St. Peter 
and St. Paul's, governed by a priest and regular 
schoolmaster ; but one is a great rogue, and the 
other a greater sot. The sum allowed for the 
m^tenance of each child is, I believe, five 
pounds per annum, scarcely enough to buy clothing; 
and were it not for the abundance of fish caught, 
and some assistance from their families, 1 really 
do not see how the boys could be kept alive. Of 
the clerical gentlemen themselves, I may ob- 
serve, that they maintain a great distmction be- 

F 2 

A i 


tween practice and precept. They are very nu- 
merous ; I know not what so many do in so poor a 
place, there being no congregations to employ so 
great a number. The revenue received by these 
reverend gentlemen is far from inconsiderable, and, 
although it is done under the disguise of voluntary' 
contribution, still it presses heavy upon th^ people ^ 
and heavier still, when it is considered that they 
do little work of any kind besides trade. Surely 
their capacities are such that .they are qualified 
to become schoolmasters; yet never but in one 
instance have I seen moral or intellectual instruc- 
tion given to the children, and, in that instance, 
the party was paid. I do not know how laborious 
the duty of a Russian priest may be in a large 
congregation, or whether it is the same as in a 
small one ; but this I do know, that in such a place 
as Kamtchatka, they do not occupy themselves for 
the benefit of the public three hours in twenty- 
four; the remaining twenty-one are occupied in 
trading, hunting, fishing, &c. Of late the Emperor 
has given them an allowance of flour as well «s a 
regular salary, and it may therefore be hoped that 
the natives will, at least, be so far benefited as to 
have fewer of their visits, except on their spiritual 

Whether the Russian government will pay any 
attention to the serious and deplorable situation of 


the peninsula of Kamtchatka is of no personal 
consequence to me, though I may well feel a 
strong interest concerning a place in which T 
resided for more than a year, and where I married. 
The ceremony was attended with much more pomp 
and parade than if it had been celebrated in 
England : it took place on the 8th of January; and 
I certainly am the first Englishman that ever married 
a Kamtchatdale, and my wife is undoubtedly the 
first native of that peninsula that ever visited happy 

The winter was passed in a constant round of 
hospitality and comfort, and hardly any thing re- 
markable occurred to call for observation. Three 
sbocks of earthquakes were felt, two of them very 
severe ; one threw the sand up from the banks of 
the river Kamtchatka, and quite annihilated the 
snow ; the Cliutchefska sopka also emitted flames 
and lava. The snow began to disappear at St. 
Peter and St., Paul's in the beginning of May. By 
the middle of the month one of the transports sailed 
from the port to Nishney Kamtchatsk, reaching it 
in five days ; and, by the latter end of May, the 
snow had entirely disappeared, and spring, in the 
course of a few days, made her welcome appear- 
ance ; wild flowers and vegetables were every where 
springing up, and enlivening the dreariness of the 
last seven months. Even the rigging of the trans- 


port which was to carry me back, excited my inte- 
rest, and reminded me of former times. The 
attention of the inhabitants was sufficiently en- 
gaged by the accession of fish, as herrings in the 
inner harbour, cod in the outer haven, and seals 
every where. Some among them proceeded to the 
islands at the mouth of the haven, and brought 
in some thousands of eggs ; while others were out 
on shooting parties, sending us in snipes, wild 
ducks, and partridges. The wild garlick made its 
first appearance at Cape Garlick so early as the 
16th of May. 

Only a few individuals died in the hospital, most 
of them with the scurvy ; the remainder were soon 
restored to sound health by spring and fresh fish. 
Our evening walks were sometimes extended to the 
summits of the hills, where we took our tea or 
smoked a cigar; but latterly the little place — I 
cannot call it a town — became overflowed from the 
melting of the snow, and it was with difficulty we 
could move about. In the month of June a vessel 
arrived from Canton and Manilla, in ballast, having 
failed in procuring a cargo of flour. By that vessel 
I received a most friendly letter from Mr. Urmston, 
the chief of the British factory, together with a 
file of English newspapers, magazines, &c. which 
employed me till the 1st of July, when we were 
ready to sail. 


St. Peter and St. Paul's, the chief city of the 
peninsnla of Kamtchatka, contains forty-two dwel- 
lings, besides fifteen edifices belonging to the go- 
yemment, an old church, and the foundation of a 
new one. Among the. public buildings are to be 
reckoned magazines for bread, for powder, for 
sailors, for convicts, for wine, and for arms; a 
guard-house, smithy, hospital, chancery, school, 
and a building for the chief and his assistant. All, 
however, with the exception of the hospital, sailors' 
barracks, and school, are, at best, like the rest of 
the city, but emblems of misery and wretchedness. 
I have never seen, even on the banks of the Frozen 
Sea, so contemptible a place, hardly meriting the 
name of a village, much less that of a city ; yet 
such is the place which has been so eulogized from 
one end of the world to the other. The erection 
of hospitals, of schools, of churches, and the difiu- 
sion of happiness and knowledge, have been extra- 
vagantly vaunted of in magazines and reviews, in 
defiance of the most lamentable facts of a very 
opposite description. 

I cannot imagine what a governor has to do in 
such a place ; a civil conmiissary would surely have 
been enough. The only people, in my opinion, 
who can be called happy, are the Koriaks, because 
they are independent. The Russians complain 
of being sent to such a vile place, utterly destitute 


of society ; the Creoles of their being kept in a state 
of poverty ; whHe the Kamtchatdales bitterly lament 
the association with either the one or the other. It 
has been observed that St. Peter and St. Paul's can 
never be a good town, owing to its want of wood. 
It may be asked, why then was the seat of govern- 
ment removed from a more eUgible place, Nishney 
Kamtchatsk ? or why was it not removed to the centre 
of agriculture and population, so far as either can be 
said to exist ? It has been already changed three 
times, and is, I believe, destined to another removal. 
Kamtchatka neither can nor will thrive so long as 
its chiefs are sent for five years only ; such a short 
period scarcely allows them^the time of doing good, 
however well disposed they may be. The general 
mode of occupying the allotted term may be thus 
described :— The first year is employed in looking 
about and forming plans for the improvement of the 
country, the amelioration of the condition of the abo- 
rigines, 8cc. ; the second year is passed in making 
reports, stating opinions, &c. ; the third year brings 
the reply of the government, directing or authorizing 
the mode of administration ; the fourth is employed 
in preparing, or, at most, in acting upon such orders ; 
while the fifth and last year is generally employed in 
preparing to return to Europe, and levying a parting 
contribution ; and, thus, the whole five years are, 
more or less, taken up in trading and accumulating 


as much money as possible. The very shortest term 
of a chief's command at Kamtchatka shonld he ten 
years ; let him then only be liberally paid, and I 
will venture to say, that many suitable characters 
win be found, who will prefer to administer justice 
with clemency and honour, to the degrading of their 
characters by a mean and derogatory traffic. If 
an increase of rank, double* pay and provisions, an 
extra pension, and the most unlimited powers, are 
not sufficient to insure a just discharge of the duties, 
what besides conscience ever can induce it ? 

Of the Kurile Islands, though they are not now 
in the government of Kamtchatka, having been 
ceded by the Emperor in property to the American 
Company, I shall make but a very few remarks, and 
with them, close my observations on Kamtchatka. 
This chain of islands is divided between the 
Russian and Japanese empires; of those belonging 
to the former empu-e, but few are inhabited. 
The first, Kurile, situate at sixty-five miles from 
Cape Lopatka, has three yourtes, with four males 
and eight females, nominally paying as tribute six 
sea-otters and twelve roubles in money ; but, as 
no sea-otters are found, and the islands abound in 
foxes, seven of these are received in lieu of them. 
There is in the island a tolerable roadstead for 
small craft on the N. W. side. Immense quantities 
of water fowl, as ducks^ geesci and swans, frequent 


the place; and from the skins and feathers the 
inhabitants make their parkas and all their warm 
clothing, which are also exceedingly comfortable 
and beautiful. The climate of the islands resembles 
that of St. Peter and St. Paul's. The soil is gene- 
rally good, producing fine pastures. On the first 
ijsle there was formerly an abundance of cattle, but 
now only two cows remain. 

The second island, about ninety miles from the 
first, has seven yourtes, with thirty-five males and 
forty-two females, paying tribute for itself and the 
fourteenth isle, nominally, thirty- five sea-otters; 
that is, twenty-three foxes and one hundred and 
fifty roubles. The fourteenth isle has three 
yourtes, fifteen males and seventeen females. Of 
the intermediate islands, and those beyond the 
fourteenth, I could obtain but very little information ; 
the whole are evidently volcanic productions, and 
are supposed to have been separated by some 
violent convulsion of nature from the peninsula of 
Kamtchatka. The islands, which are lofty and 
bold, are said to be without rivers, nor are there 
any harbours known. It is to be remembered, 
however, that they have been but very imperfectly 
surveyed. The inhabitants are supposed to be of 
the same origin as those of Kamtchatka, though 
they differ in the custom of wearing long beards, 
which was probably introduced among them by the 


Russians. Their dialect is the same with that of 
the inhabitants near Cape Lopatka ; from whence 
baidares are frequently sent to the first and second 
isle^ to bring the tribute and furs. Foxes are said 
to be the only animals of the chase, and here they 
abound in all colours. Sea-otters were also for- 
merly taken, and still, at intervals, visit some of 
the islands. Excepting those caught near Nishney 
Kamtchatsk, they are considered the most valuable 
of the species. 


Departure from Kamtchatka — Re-arri7al at Okotsk — For- 
dier observations on that place— Bulgeine— The Udoma 
— Outchakan — Anchekon — ^Atchan and Konkui rivers — 
Tchomoi Liess — >Ghakdalka — Chekinvio — The Aldan, 
Amgha> and Lena riyers — Re-arrival at Yakutsk — General 
observations on the Yakuti, and of their Metropolis. 

I REMAINED in Kamtchatka eleven months, en- 
joying that hospitality and kindness which the chief. 
Captain Rikord, so eminently possesses the means 
and manner of conferring. The vessel in which 
we prepared to return to Okotsk, was the same 
which brought me to Kamtchatka; but, although 
she was ready in June, it was not until the 5th of 
July, 1822, that the anchor was weighed, and, with 
a light northern breeze, we bade adieu to Kamt- 
chatka. As we steered along shore, the coast of- 
fered a lively verdant appearance, no snow being 
visible except on the elevated peaks. In five days 
we reached the latitude of Cape Lopatka, bearing 
west ten leagues. At the close of the day, When 
thus situated, and with a light air from the S.£., 
the sky assumed an unusual fiery red, wliile the 


beautifiil tinge on the dark fleeting clouds, presented 
a most sablime aspect, though it evidently fore- 
boded something awful. The constant changes in 
the appearance of the heavens over the high lands 
of Kamtchatka and the islands, reminded us of an 
Aurora Borealis, as this, as in the real Aurora, had 
its fiery meteors moving about. By midnight the 
wind veered to S. W. by W,, and ultimately settled 
in a heavy gale from the N. W. ; the last being the 
scene of the most glowing part of the sky. An 
immense cloud of smoke had also been visible for 
a couple of days in the N.N.W. direction. Before 
our arrival at Okotsk, it had been ascertained that 
a great part of the immense forests north of the 
bay of Avatcha had been destroyed, and that a se- 
vere concussion of the earth had taken place upon 
the day of the gale. Fortunately for us it was an 
off-shore wind, or our destruction would have been 
inevitable. During the forty-eight hours that we 
were lying-to under bare poles, we were driveo to 
the S.E. about one hundred and fifty miles, owing 
partly to the heavy sea which drove through the 
Kurile passages, and partly to a strong current 
which continually sets to the S.E. through the Lo- 
patka Straits. It is this current which renders the 
passage to and from Okotsk much more tedious than 
it otherwise would be. The first, or Lopatka Chan- 
nel, is now seldom or never attempted, owing to 


the repeated accidents ii^hich have happened to the 
transports : indeed^ there is now an order from the 
Admiralty to the contrary, throwing the onus upon 
the officer in charge. The channel, as far as I am 
able to judge, is not half so dangerous nor so 
narrow as that of the Needles at the Isle of Wight. 
The whole of this hemisphere demands a surveying 
expedition, as well as practical sailors to traverse 
it; for, till then, imaginary dangers wiU be 
shunned, while real ones remain unknown. 

Driven to the S.E. 4"" of latitude as well as 
of longitude, we awaited a S.E. gale, when we were 
enabled, with good management, to run within a 
quarter of a mile of the breakers, though in the 
greatest danger of suffering shipwreck, which 
would, in such circumstances, have left no one alive 
to tell the dismal tale. The vessel was crowded 
with live lumber,— men, women, and children, all 
with horror depicted upon their countenances. 
The situation we were in was by no means pleasant. 
Our course was west ; a heavy Kurilian fog at- 
tended us ; we had already passed what appeared 
two islands, but which, in fact, were two hills on 
one island. Land was observable i^-head, and we 
hauled up S. W., going eight knots, and the spray, 
at this time, from the breakers within fifty yards of 
us. The gale veered to N.E. — observed the land 
again from S.S.W. to W. — hauled up S.S.E. land 


still a*head, when from a hard gale and heavy sea 
it felly almost miraculously, calm, and we found 
ourselves in smooth water. Fourteen feet were 
gained by the lead, and the anchor was thrown out 
with success. The night proved rainy, dark, and 
dismal, but we held on, in perfect ignorance of our 
situation ; latterly, even the land was not visible, 
though the breakers were. A small rock lay N« 
by E., and a reef S. by £., extending to S.W. 
The surf from the island extended to W.N.W., 
leaving us only a west course in the event of any 
accident to our cables. After a night of great 
anxiety and constant attention to the lead, the 
watches, or look-out, being equally divided be- 
tween the commander and myself, we haUed the 
break of the following mom with great pleasure : 
a cloudless sky discovered our situation to have 
been such, that nothing but the intervention of 
Providence could have saved a single life on board 
the vessel, if the gale had continued. We had no 
alternative betwixt struggling through breakers, or 
being dashed to pieces against rocky precipices. 

The large bay into which we had been thus 
driven, is no where described in any chart, which 
is the more extraordinary, as it lies near the prin- 
cipal Kurile channel. It is to this hour unknown, 
for we did not survey it, although it has been 
passed within a few miles by the annual transports 


for the last hundred years. Our situation proved 
to be on the S,E. side of the third island, and S. of 
a large bay in the centre of it. Four small rocky 
isles bore from N. to N.E. | N. about a mile 
distant; a long reef had its extreme east point 
E.N.E. about nine miles; the hollow in the centre 
of the isle bore N.N.W., and the eastern ex- 
treme of the southern shore S.E. I S. ; while a 
sunken rock and bank were, from us, S. by E. about 
half a mile distant; consequently, the mainland ran 
from N.E. to S.E. round by the W. There was 
plenty of water for our vessel all round us : a clear 
channel lay round the rock to the S. by E., and 
another to the west of the northern reef, distant 
from the main land three miles. As we had come 
in, there must necessarily be a passage out; and 
that passage I proposed as the most certain by 
which to get safely out. The latitude at noon was 
50*" 2ff, and the proper entrance to the bay is in 
that latitude, between the long reef, nine miles from 
the brig's then station, and the islands, hauling up 
to the south, and thus it may be made a safe bay. 
We hove short the anchor, and drove close to 
the breakers ; let go a second anchor under foot, 
and, at length, by casting the right way, made sail 
and cut away. The S.E. current, and the tar- 
diness of the crew^ were still to be borne with, as 
we passed parallel to the reef at fifty or sixty yards. 


We gained an oflBng, and continued to beat about 
until the twentieth day from our leaving Avatcha : 
on that day we passed the third channel, but light 
easterly airs detained us till the twenty-fifth. On 
the thirty-third day we made the port of Okotsk, 
and reached the anchorage of the outer bay. On 
the thirty-fourth I landed in a tremendous surf, at 
the risk of my life. Feeling anxious to get ashore, 
and, in spite of recalls and signals, I passed safely 
through a surf which swallowed up six out of 
twelve of a boat that also subsequently attempted 
it; finding the surf near me, I continued straight 
on, while the other boat attempted to turn, and 
reaped the disastrous consequences. The chief of 
Kamtchatka, with his family and my wife, landed 
the following day upon the outer beach ; and the 
brig, on the third, reached the harbour in safety. 

From this relation of my voyage, I should feel 
greatly pleased if I could draw the attention of the 
Russian government to the propriety and necessity, 
not only of surveying generally the Kurile islands, 
but particularly those extending from Gape Lo- 
patka to the latitude of 46''. It is within that 
compass that the transports,, from and to Okotsk 
and Kamtchatka, pass the Kurile straits. I had 
occasion last year to notice what I considered an 
error in the geographical position of the third and 
fourth Kurile islands; this year I repeated my 


83 OiLOTi^K. 

observatioQs with «omewliat more precUioa, m ttou- 
^sequenoe of the light airs and calnts which attend- 
ed us for some time. The latitude of the fifth 
isknd is certainly wrong : at soon on the 24tk 
July, O.S., we were in latitude 49'' 93^, at which 
time the <most northern part of the island bore W. 
by N. at about four leagues ; at Ae same time thait 
the island lying to the westward of it was one point 
open to the north. This could not have been 
the case if the charts had been correct: every 
allowance for the error in Admiral Kruzensteme's 
chart may, however, be passed over in silence, as 
he did not survey this part, nor, indeed^ any so far 

The second channel is certainly the preferable 
one, when bound from Okotsk into the Eastern 
Ocean, because, although it is formed by four 
islands, and is generally attended by fogs, it can 
always be run for, as a (air wind is a clear wind. 
Going, however, from Kamtchatka to Okotsk, the 
third channel is the better, as it is formed by two 
lofty, though small, islands, and has considerably 
less fog and current. Calms or .gales, heavy fogs, 
strong and changeable currents, prevail in these 
seas, and render the navigation, in the hands of 
those generally employed, tedious and perilous; 
indecision and incapjEicity marking every act. The 
government deserve credit for their late Mberality 


ill settling the establishment of Okotsk : stilly how- 
ever, much remains to be done. The encourage- 
ment held out to young officers, to induce them to 
searye in this part of the world, is generous ; but 
there is yet wanting encouragement to officers who 
are already initiated into the practical, as well as 
theoretical, part of a seaman's duty As the case 
is, none but boys from the college are sent ; who, 
getting the command of a vessel before they have 
even been afloat, are obliged to confide in the 
undw officers, and all subordination ceases, except 
that which is enforced by hasty puqishment; for 
startiag has found its way from the navy of Eng- 
land to tb^t of the Eastern Ocean. 

.Having once more reached the continental part 
of Asia, I began to prepare for my journey to 
Yakutsk. In the mean time, every attention and 
kindness was renewed to me by my old friend, the 
chief of Okotsk, and his amiable lady. Many con- 
siderable additions and improvements to the town 
and port had. been made during ifij absence. The 
building belonging to tixe American Company had 
been tonsported from the ground on which they 


were €(MBstr.wM;ed, to the new town, having been 
framed and prepared at the old town, ou account 
of the proximity of the workmen, as well as the 
difficulty and danger in crossing the mouth of the 
harbx^ur during summer. A new b|ag had been 

6 2 


prepared, and was now ready to launch. Two 
large flats had been built for transporting flour 
across the bay. A sort of custom and warehouse 
had been erected, for the use of the merchants^ the 
receipts of which are given to the support of the 
poor; and two magnificent magazines^ a post-house^ 
and other buildings, together with five thousand 
large trees in the dock-yard » have been added, 
through the activity of Captain Ushiusky. I may 
confidently say, that were the same industry and 
knowledge to be continued in operation for five 
years longer, Okotsk would not cede in regularity, 
cleanliness^ or durability of buildings, to any 
wooden town in Siberia, except Barnaoule. 

It is a pity that a dry dock is not formed for 
laying up the transports during the winter. The 
means are ample, the rise and fall of the regular 
tide very considerable, and the ultimate advantages 
are incalculable. The duty at the port is heavy, 
owing to a want of officers, artificers, and sailors. 
The correspondence with Irkutsk is enough for a 
government, much more for so small a place. Two 
vessels belonging to the American Company ar- 
rived during my stay in Okotsk,— >one in ballast, 
and the other almost empty, having but two thou- 
sand river-otters on board. It is incomprehensible 
why this body do not fit out small craft for the pur- 
pose of taking seals on and round the Isle of Ay on; 


its ilistance firom Okotsk is about one hundred and 
fifty miles, and the interval would, no doubt, be 
the most thriving scene of their adventures. Who 
is the director of the concern I know not ; but I 
am quite certain, that, by visiting the establishment 
once in three years, he might do much good, and 
prevent more robbery. 

Being fully prepared for my journey to Yakutsk, 
distant, in a direct line, seven or eight hundred 
miles, we departed on the evening of the 37th of 
August, a very late period of the year, crossing 
the Great Bay, and encamping for the night at 
Bulgeine, near the remains of an old hospital, then 
in a fine situation, but lately removed to a worse 
one in the town. It ought, at least, to be still 
used for those who are in a convalescent state, 
having the advantage of a better air, some vegeta- 
bles, and plenty of milk. The following morning 
our caravan amounted to near two hundred horses. 
I had thirteen, besides a couple of tents, one for 
my g^des and Cossack, the other for myself. Pro- 
visions were laid in for six weeks, as nothing is to 
be procured upon the road except flesh meat. My 
present situation upon leaving Okotsk was too 
difibrent from the last to escape my observation. 
Then, I was wandering about alone, careless of the 
past, unconcerned for the future, and, like the brute 
creation, alive only to the present hour. Now, with 


a young wife to protect through an execrable jour- 
ney on horseback, and exposed to the severity of 
winter, I felt, and feh deeply, that prudence and 
foresight were peculiarly necessary. She, who had 
only seen ^ee or four horses in her life, was 
consequently not a little terrified; but what will 
not perseverance overcome? llie difficulties she 
encountered, in this and the subsequent journeys, 
were such as would have shaken the most robust, 
and bore very hard upon her delicate frame; yet it 
is but justice and truth t6 say, that in no part of 
our journey did she express a murmur; on the con- 
trary, the more real or apparent the difficulties to 
contend with, the more willing and reconciled I 
found her to brave them. 

From Bulgeine we made ten miles, hallinjg on 
the banks of the Okota. Our route thence lay over 
a well-wooded, but swampy, countiy. At thirty 
miles we parted from the amiable chief of Karot- 
chatka, who was about to return to the peninsula, 
in company with his successor, agreeably to orders 
from Saint Petersburg; which enact, ''that no 
governor nor other officer shall quit his post until 
his successor shall have arrived/' This is a regu- 
lation which will have a very salutary effect over 
Siberia. It is, however, to be regretted that the 
old Siberian law, which forbids " father and son, 
uncles and nephews, or brothers, serving togeHier," 

MET A. 8P 

It m iia vmy aUooded to; at ieast, whece higk lank 
ift aonocnied. The kite g^^emois of Ivkvtsk and 
YakutdL wove fsdiw aod son* the latter hoMiiig' 
bedi Yahutdi «mI Oketsk ; the Iitte gow^vaof-ge^ 
Borei of Siberia and H^ goveraor of Toboli^ were 
alflOk brotheiB ; and alAoagk I do not mean tke 
MBideat in^ntatiOB against thesr pbaiaoteia, atiQ I 
iMHitaiii thatabenefieialfegal^tion is injndifiionftl; 
•ei aside.^-vTo Tetam to my joimiey : the third day 
ve veached Meta on Ike Okota, and leiqoyed 
kigUy the very ine scenery abont it. Q& die fourtt 
dav, what with ririnsr late and hahinff early, for the 
accommodation of the ladies, of wTomZi« w^ 
six; IB enr caravan, we made but twenty miles, and 
encamped upon the banks of the Utak, which I shall 
rem^nber equally with the Arko ; the former for 
eadangenng the life of my wife, and the ktter, of 
my own. My wife had a good horse, but had im^ 
pradeatly exchanged it to try a second, and a worse. 
She waa theown with such violence as to lie fior 
twelve boars senseless and speechless ; but, thanks to 
Providence and to two sons of JBsoulapius, lyho vete 
jonrneyuig with us, she recovered in a great degree, 
Ikougb she has ever since been liable to a pain in 
the rigbt temple.- The next forenoon we resumed 
oi» journey along a picturesque valley, yratered by 
tte Urak, which we forded nine times in adistiMiee 
cf forty miles. The cenntry, like Ike num^ous 


islands in the river» was well covered with poplan» 
and biroheSy intennixed with larches. The number 
of rivers and branches of rivers that are forded and 
passed upon the journey from Yakutsk to Okotsk, 
is quite inconceivable. Captain Minitsky told me 
there were not less than a thousand ; many of them 
requiring much presence of mind, and a spirit 
accustomed to danger, on the part of the traveller, 
to enable him to attempt what we were daily com- 
pelled to undertake, or pass our lives in Eastern 
Siberia — rather a hard lot, whatever I may think 
vof the enjoyments to be had in Central or Western 

We now got into the land of wild berries, espe- 
cially of currants ; the tracks of bears and wolves 
were also discernible.. We passed the half-way- 
house to Krestova, and following a route through a 
forest of fine timber, pitched our tents, and received 
the first real salutation of winter in a heavy fall 
of snow : this was on the 2d of September, O.S. 
Thus, in one short night, from the beauties of 
autumn, we were involved in the dreariness of 
winter. The following, a tremendous stormy day, 
we made, with great difficulty, twenty miles, and 
reached a halting place half frozen, and more than 
half drowned, firom the frequent necessity of ford- 
ing lakes and rivers. Our halting place was near 
a deep swamp, which was perilously waded by the 


whole party. The weather next day was snch, that 
we remained in out tents, and employed ourselves 
in drying our clothes, &c. after which we bade adieu 
to the Urak, which rises not far hence, and falls 
into the sea of Okotsk, not far south of the city, 
at the salt work establishment. We reached, in a 
hard frost, the river Udoma, where we were de- 
tained, owing to the late snows and rains having 
swollen the river to an unusual size. I had suc- 
ceeded in crossing, but my horse not being in a 
condition to take me back, I could not return, and 
was thus cut off from the rest of the party for the 
night. An axe being always suspended from my 
saddle, and a flint and steel being always round my 
waist, I made a good fire, and passed the night as 
well as could be expected. At the halting place, 
we met with a priest going to Okotsk ; he had been 
forty-six days upon the road, owing to the over- 
flowed state of the country. There are times when 
seventy and even eighty days are necessary to 
perform the journey, the rate of progress being 
confined to five and six miles a-day. 

With much labour, and considerable apprehension 
on the part of the women, we next day crossed the 
Udoma, my wife being towed over the stream on 
horseback by two Yakut guides. Seven miles 
beyond, we reached Udoma Cross, where an under 
officer of the Cossacks resides, with a few Yakuti; 


tlie statioii nerves for a post-house, has aho a 
magasine of ttont, and the person in ehai^ hat 
the command of a great number of Yakuti. Its 
situation is bleak and exposed, but is adranti^ieous 
on account of the fish and game, as well as ffom 
haying the most beautiful pastures in it9 neighbouF- 
hood. From Udoma Cross there is a water com- 
munication to Yakutsk, by means of the Udona, 
which fells into the Aldan ; the latter of which ulti- 
mately enters the Lena. This aquatio oommimi- 
cation is not so much attended to as formerly, when 
all Uie stores for Captains Behring's and Billings 
expeditions were thus forwarded with success. It 
would seem that the Russian government are not 
now so forward as formerly in patronizing water 
communications ; indeed, the only person in the 
Russian empire who has persisted in applying the 
power of steam, is an Englishman at St. Petersburg: 
and he has a ten years' exclusive privilege en all 
rivers, lakes, canals, &c. It is to be hoped, when 
Mr. Baird's time shall have expired, the government 
will undertake it on the most liberal and extensive 
scale. The whole distance from Yakutsk to Okotsk 
might be accomplished by large canoes, except the 
passage of one chain of mountains, which confine 
the Arko, a large stream uniting with the Okote. 
The whole distance from hence to the Aldan by the 
Udoma is six hundred miles, while the direct course 


is about one bofldred and eighty ; the voyage is, 
hoWeyer; performed in five or six days. 

Wh procured at Udoma a supply of fresh meat 
and wild berries ; and having fed the horses well, 
and rested them for a couple of days, we resumed 
the journey towards Alack Youna, a distance of 
one hundred add thirty miles, part of which lay 
over half-frozen rivers and swamps, along a pictu- 
resque valley. The first day our party lost three 
horses by excess of fatigue, and firom the ice giving 
Way under them. The country was well wooded, 
and, as we continued, some tall firs were seen mixed 
with the larches and alders. We continued along 
the valley, making from fifteen to thirty-five miles 
per day. The cold had increased to 6* of Reaumur. 
Tike fifteenth day we reached the Outchakan. Our 
halting-place commanded a most magnificent pano- 
rama of mountam scenery ; the river branched out 
into numerous shallow channels, whose rippling, 
joined to the murmur of the wind against the trees, 
adds a pensive air to the sublimity of the scene. 
The hills rise one above another in a regular suc- 
cession to a great height, and the whole appears 
one of the most secluded and desolate spots I have 
ever witnessed. In so cold a place I never saw so 
much and such fine timber, which, lying at the foot 
of the hills on the nortti side of the numerous 
valleys, and gradually diminishing as they reach 


the more exposed places, give an air of picturesque 
beauty, seldom to be met with in so high a latitude. 
All was still save the murmur of the waters and of 
the trees ; not a voice was to be heard, nor a 
creature to be seen, but of our own party ; no fire, 
not even a charity yourte— in short, nothing to 
greet the arrival of the weary traveller in a spot 
where eternal winter reigns. A cold north wind 
for ever sweeps through the valley, destroying 
almost every species of vegetation; and such is the 
extreme rigour of the climate, that solid massive 
ice is to be seen even in the months of July and 
August. When we crossed the centre of the 
valley and the river, the thermometer stood at IG*" 
of Reaumur's frost, and the ice-banks on the river 
were twenty and twenty-four inches thick. To the 
religious or philosophic mind this may be a safe 
retreat, the cares of the world being certainly far 
removed from it, as, during nine months in the 
year, nothing but a monthly post-Cossack comes 
within some miles of it. We lost four horses from 
the effects of the frost, and resumed the journey as 
we could, along a succession of valleys, for twenty 
miles, when we halted at the foot of a tremendous 
ravine, formed by two high mountainous precipices. 
We lost five more horses, though good pasture 
was to be had, every thing bearing the most wintry 

ALACK roUNA. 93 

Henceforth our progress became tedious, uncer- 
tain, and very laborious, as the remaining horses 
were so heavily laden. We entered the next day 
on the valley and river of Anchekon amidst much 
snow, but in warmer weather. On the 13th (25th) 
September, we crossed an elevated chain of hills, 
whose precipitous or steep ascents gave us much 
trouble ; these hills separate the two governments 
of Yakutsk and Okotsk. We reached the river 
Atchan, which falls into the Youna, receiving also 
the Anchekon, and ultimately all uniting in the 
Aldan, Lena, and Frozen Sea. It was late when 
we reached the post station, called Alack Youna, 
having come twenty-five miles of most execrable 

The country now assumed a more lively and pic- 
turesque appearance. Lofty ranges of table lands 
superseded the conical or triangular mountains, a 
noble pasture plain lay before us, and abundance 
of timber and hay-stacks was every where to be seen. 
This is, indeed, an eligible place for a post-house, 
which is established on the left, or south, bank of 
the river. We staid two days to refresh man and 
beast, and on the 15th (27th) reached, at- fifteen 
miles, a narrow defile, where we ascended and 
descended six steep and dangerous hills, after which 
we halted on the banks of the Konkui, which also 
unites with the Aldan. Rising early the following 


meroiiigy w« joiAde thirty miles, fifteen of which 
were Along a naiTOw and deep ravine, and the other 
half over three steep and lofty^mountain-passes, the 
summits of which afforded a most extensive, but 
dre{iry,^oi^ct. Thethermometer^atthemostele- 
vajbad point, stood at 12° of frost. Having crossed 
the mountains, we reached the land of evergreens'^ 
the pine and fir— an agreeable reUef to eyes which 
had •so Jong dwelt on nothing but desolation. 

Leaving the Kbnkui to the right, along the banks 
of which is the proper route, we crossed, at ten mUes, 
an elevated mountain range. We had adopted this 
route in consequence of the lateness of the season, 
as there are in that river forty-six places to be f(»;ded, 
a task which our horses, in their present state, could 
not perform. We made near thirty miles, but. the 
baggage did not arrive until midnight, twenty-three 
horses being knocked up, and six more having 
dropped dead on the road. I could not but pity 
the distress of the poor Yakuti, at being thusoom- 
peUed io forsake their favourite cattle, which wouU 
iH>t have been so severely felt, if they could have 
laken away the carcases for provisions ; many of 
t^ese horses were in a good state, but became 
firoz^i in the morasses, and were dead by morniag. 

We met the .post irxmi Yakutsk, and, in the 
course of an hour more, we were overtaken by that 
from Okotak ; the latter had beeii encountered by 


ft bear^ whicA had destrojwd niMt of tke letters 
ead fajpers. The Joiinial of Cs^ftin VaBsibeff's 
£xpedifioBy in particular^ had suffered muok There 
was also a oensideraUe sam of paper meoej ia the 
post, Imt ihis happily escaped ^ii^ury. We reached 
TehevB6i Liess, or Black Wood» thefoUewiagday. 
The road was at first along the little river Ohak* 
daUca, mid then on the WJnte River, heth oniting 
with the Aldan, until we reached Cbdi^onoi, or the 
Weepiiiig Country, so called from the Yakuti losing 
so Many horses in its swampy and half-froaen 
«Mrshes ; out of my thirteen, four w«re knocked 
' Up, The pasture k good, but the luMses treading 
it &i« «Bbayed ia the deep owampy part so lo»gr. 
fliat the firoat fastening on and penetrating their 
€eet, causes thm certain deaA. The stench from 
' the d^id carcases is, at tknea, distinctly percept 
tible ; and the 'oaroases of ithe ^umeroin horses thus 
&oEea i^traet many bears to die place. At Black 
W<eod, Ihere is a pcMtJunise, magaeine for flour, 
and tluree yourtes, in mk open ^sountry, fifiliy mfles 
horn the Aldao. 

<From tins great loss of horses, I w^ obliged to 
ferwavd my wife »on in oharge of the Cossack, and 
ranuun to bring up the baggage, and tbuy or veoL- 
•change heises as eoidd best be done, for the hme- 
fit <^ my Yakuti. I remaiBed fcnr 4hirtyH»x kouia 
bargaining, and, at length, hsrvii^^ fproeuved thnae 



fresh horses, overtook the party before they reached 
the Aldan. The last twenty-five miles are over a 
continual wooden causeway, in many parts in so 
wretched a condition that it is dangerous for horses 
to go by it ; the country was a most dreary, low, 
swampy, and bmshrwood place. A good ferry the 
next day took us across the Aldan, at a part which 
is three quarters of a mile broad. Afterwards, over 
a well- wooded and picturesque country, we reached 
a most comfortable yourte, twenty-five miles be- 
yond the river. We now began to feel the effects 
of fatigue and cold, and continual exposure to the 
open air. When I say we, I should except myself, 
for I never was better or more contented ; but 
I considered the situation of the females on horse- 
back, with IS" to IS"" of frost, without a hut or 
covering to receive them, and passing the night in 
the snow, as no ordinary circumstances. To me 
a tent has less of pleasantness than the open air, as 
afibrding a sort of stoppage to the snow drift; which 
circumstance, wherever there are fires, renders 
every thing uncomfortably damp ; therefore I pre- 
ferred lying down to windward of a fire, changing 
sides, as one became frozen or the other roasted. 
The season was, however, so far advanced, that we 
apprehended the danger of being detained on the 
right bank of the Lena for a month or more ; it was 
therefore resolved to push on. 


From the Aldan the country becomes a fine and 
open park-scenery; many interesting prospects 
strike the attention of the traveller, and the quan- 
tity of cattle is a sensible relief. We reached and 
were ferried over the Amgha, a large stream uniting 
with the Aldan. Passing many lakes, abounding 
with a small but delicious carp, we reached, on the 
third day, a post-house, where we procured kibitkis. 
The severe frost and heavy falls of snow, combined 
with the flatness of the country over which our future 
track lay, rendered the journey more expeditious 
and agreeable; and we were enabled to reach two 
stations, or forty miles, over a country not unaptly 
termed, as far as regards scenery, the Siberian 
Caucasus; for, although not so elevated, the scenery 
is most romantic, and carries with it many rural 
charms, not to be looked for in such a part of the 
world. The inhabitants, who are all Yakuti, I 
founds at every part of my journey, civil, obliging, 
and hospitable ; and if we met one who was know- 
ing, cunning, or knavish, and accused of being such, 
he would readily retort by asking, Who taught the 
Yakuti to be knaves ? 

Horses had now become so scarce, that our bag- 
gage was drawn by oxen. For my own share, out 
of thirteen horses, only one was able to reach Ya- 
kutsk. I mention the circumstance, that my read- 
ers may be fully aware what a terrible undertaking 


98 Yakutsk. 

it is for the traveller, and what a cruel one upon 
the unhappy Yakut, and still more unhappy horse. 
The forty miles we made the following day, 
placed within our reach a flour-magazine, a grog- 
shop, and a pedlar's stall. There are many Yakuti 
settled in the neighbourhood, abundance of homed 
catde are every where to be seen, and the quantity 
of hay collected for them is prodigious. We had 
now but eighty miles left, forty of which were ac- 
complished on the 27th of September, O.S., over a 
low, flat, swampy country ; after which, through a 
crowded forest, we reached the banks of the Lena. 
The latter part of this day's jouniey reminded me 
of Old England; the very regular fences and hedges 
presenting an appearance of economy and thrift 
which I had not witnessed for a long time. Upon 
the 1st of October, We reached the city of Yakutsk, 
at a time when^the river was almost impassable from 
the quantity of heavy floating ice. Good and com- 
fortable quarters had been prepared for me through 
the kindness of the chief, who bad recendy arrived. 
I discharged my Yakuti, well satisfied with their 
conduct, although two of them, and the Cossack, 
managed to consume, independeift of four quiirters 
of their ox-beef, and one horse, wliicfh was kitlefd, ten 
poods of teJef, rtr neat fcrtir hundred weight. It may 
not be improper, in this stage, to give some idea of 
the chatacter of the Ya^LUti, and of dieir numbefrs. 


They are eridently of Tartar origiD, as their lan- 
guage is understood by the Tartars of Kazan* Their 
complexion is a light copper colour; they are gene- 
rally of low sti^ure, with more regular and pleasing 
features than the Tongousi; they are more bospi- 
tahle, good tempered, and orderly, but neither so 
honest nor so independent; they have a serrility, 
a tameness, and a want of character, which assimi- 
lates them, in some measure, to the despicable 
Kamtchatdales. The more a Yakut is beaten, the 
more he will work; touch a Tongousi, and no work 
will be got from him. The Yakutiare very ingenious^ 
and excellent mechanics; they maike their own 
knives, guns, kettles, and various iron utensils. 
They are patient under fatigue, and can resist great 
piivations. They are, like the Tongousi, great 
gluttons, but subsist mostly upon horse-flesh ; a nuire 
being considered by them as the greatest delicacy, but 
never slaughtered except in sacrifice to a shamane* 

Their riches consist in large herds of horses and 
homed cattle, besides an abundance of the tfineat 
and most valuable furs. They also carry on a con- 
siderable trade among themselves, and some of 
iheii princes .are immensely rich, doing business 
to the amount of one hundred and £fty thousand 
roubles a-year, and yet living in the same misery 
as their servants, sleeping in the same apartment, 
which, perhaps, contains- foiiy or .fifty fieofie. 

H 2 


Their dress differs little from that of the neighbour- 
iog tribes, beiag made of rein-deer skins for the 
rich, and horses* hides for the poorer class. Many 
of them still subsist entirely on fishing and hunting. 
Their greatest luxuries are tea, tobacco, and spirits. 
They sit cross-legged. The greater part of them 
are converted to Christianity, and the clergymen 
in many places deliver their sermons in the Yakut 
dialect. Indeed, so fashionable is it, that, in the 
best society at Yakutsk, the Yakut dialect is used 
for all private conversation, or in the presence of 
an European officer. 

Their yourtes are comfortable, and, upon the 
arrival of a guest, are made as clean as clean straw 
can make them ; in other respects, they are disgust- 
ing enough, being but too frequently filled with 
vermin. The yourtes differ from all the others I 
have seen, consisting of one large apartment and a 
cow-house adjoining. The mode of constructing 
their dwellings is as follows ; nine posts are driven 
into the ground in the form of a square, the three 
in the centre being higher than the others ; on 
these posts they lay three beams, while the four 
corder posts are connected by two other cross 
beams. Stout planks are then placed sloping from 
the earth to the horizontal beams to which they 
are fastened, while' other plankfi are also laid 
doping from the upper part of the roof to the 


side-posts, overlapping the others. Grass, mould, 
and dung are then plastered over them in lien of 
caulking, and the walls are banked up with the 
same materials, fenced in during winter. The 
heat in the yourte is preserved by means of the 
snow, which becomes hardened to such a degree 
as to resist the fire and smoke from the chimney ; 
blocks of ice are placed in the sides of their abodes 
instead of glass, and serve as windows ; they give 
a clear transparent light ; though sometimes blad- 
ders or oiled paper, as well as a particular species 
of a fossil, called Yitrum Ruthenicum Maria, glass, 
or talc, serve for the same purpose. Three sides 
of the interior are divided into partitions, two or 
three people living in each, according to the size 
of the family, and are used as bed places ; they are 
three or four feet wide, and ten long. In the centre 
is the hearth and chimney, formed by upright 
sticks, plastered on the inside. The wood is placed 
in an upright direction on the hearth, and the fire 
is kept up constantly day and night. The state 
apartment, and of course that occupied by the chief 
guest, is the farthest from the door, and immediately 
under the image. The odour from the cow-house, 
although disagreeable, is considered very healthful, 
and far preferable to mixing with thirty or forty 
people, whose stench and filth are inconceivable. 
With only a few inmates, and additional cleanliness. 


I consider a Yakat dwellings to be extremely 
convenient^ and peculiarly fresh and wholesome. 
Their kitchen utensils are not numerous ; a large 
iron kettle or boiler, a large tea-kettle, and a few 
wooden bowls and spoons^ with still fewer earthen 
jars, and a knife for each person, constitute the 
whole. The richer Yakut may have a samavar, 
or tea-urn, and perhaps, in such case, a tea-pot 
also, but, in general, the tea is made in the kettle. 
They use no plates, but taking a large piece of 
beef in their left hand, they secure it with their 
teeth, and then cut away as much with the right as 
will fill the mouth; some warm melted butter 
finishes the repast, when the pipe and tobacco come 
in as a dessert. 

The population of the government of Yakutsk, 
as appears by the official return, is as follows :— 
In Z circle or commissariat of 

Males. Females. 

Yakutsk 42,853 44,193 

TheKolyma. 2,384 2,165 

riUuifeky 17,477 17,419 

Zashiversky 6,168 4,901 

Olekminsk 4,539 4,443 

Convicts and white people, &c. in the different 

commissariats 23,230 1 9^05 

95,651 93,016 

Total 188,667 


Of the^e probtably about one hupdred ai^d thirty 
thousand are Yakuti, the rest Toi^ousi, or La- 
oMitluy and Aussums. 

Again settled in Yakutsk, I bad tin^e to w^k 
abovit and see slLl that b wprtb seeiqg. If my 
former qpin^pn of it was bad» it is now wqrs^; 
the only alteration being, that some of the 
d^nrchfis ^^A the monastery have been white- 
washed* There lure about a dospen respectable 
looking houses, the inmates of which are not even 
oil i^peaking terms with one another. The littl^ 
el^ann there was in the society of the place during 
the reign of Captain Minitsky is now entirely dis- 
sipated. There is now no difference betwixt fast 
and lisast days, and the number of the parties and 
opinions in the city is almost equal to that of the 
inhabitants. Obtain Minitsky kept a liberal table, 
and furpisbed every possible incentive to society. 
Qe was altc^gether the proper chief for the city pf 
Yakutsk. The present amiable governor is a 
widower; a circumstapoe which cannot fail of ren- 
dering hin^ unpopular with the fair sex, which in- 
dades a great number of .sprightly and handsome 
girls. Probably oo place has bejtter means for 
forming agreeable evening parties tl>an Yakutsk ; 
^nd yet it seems that the epvy apd j.ea}ousy enter- 
tained against i^dividi^ members of eapb other's 
f^mlie^, are s^o prevalent, |hat one merchant will 


not associate with another ; all seems distrust and 
intrigue— each aiming to become the chiefs fa- 
vourite merchant, for, upon that circumstance, much 
consequence is attached. The number and the 
wealth of the principal inhabitants are such, that a 
chief, by a wise, liberal, and independent policy, 
may amass a very considerable fortune. It is not 
long since that a governor kept open house ; his 
table was at all times laid for twenty, and the 
evenings were passed at cards and billiards. No 
Yakut from a distant village entered his house 
without receiving his day's food, a dram, a pound 
of tobacco, and a night's lodging* The result was, 
that when his birth or saint's day arrived, the 
merchants and Yakut princes agreed that he had a 
noble heart, that he spent more money than he 
received, and that, therefore, it was necessary to 
reimburse him ; and, instead of receiving twelve or 
fifteen thousand roubles' worth of skins upon the day 
of his feast, he received probably forty thousand ; 
and, by these spontaneous offerings of the inhabit- 
ants, he is said to have gone away the richest chief 
ever known. His name I shall not consider myself 
at liberty to mention, as I believe he b still living. 
Nothing noticeable occurred to us here, with the 
exception of a few visits I made to the chief, and 
also to Mrs. Rikord, in whose company we had 
come from Okotsk. She resided with a Mr. Paul 


Berezuiy the most liberal and agreeable man in the 
city, from whom I received every attention : indeed 
I was considered an acceptable guest in every part 
of the city ; each individual had something to tell 
me of scandal, and, if I visited one more than 
another, it was certain to get me into momentary 
disgrace ; but I must do them the justice to say, 
that, by a little good and amiable policy, a fair 
society may in a short period be formed in Yakutsk. 
I have seldom seen a place where the comforts and 
necessaries of life were more abundant or cheaper, 
nor are the luxuries at all scarce. 


Departure from Yakutsk ^- Tastakinskoi — Olekma — Bere- 
zova— Vittim — Kirenga — Katchouga — Bratsky Steppe— 
Verkholensk — Re-arriyal at Irkutsk— The Angara river^ 
TheBaikhal lake-*<-Verclmey Udinsk — Selen^nsk^ and the 
Missionary station at that place. 

In this inert state I passed two heavy months 
at Yakutsk. The cold latterly became severe, the 
thermometer falling to 32'' and 35"" of Reaumur, 
yet never so low as to compel me to put on more 
than my ordinary clothing, consisting of shoes, 
worsted stockings, coat, waistcoat, trowsers, and 
hat ; while others wore caps, warm boots, cloaks, 
and mittens, I even went without gloves. My time 
was principally employed in preparing a vehicle 
to enable me to reach Irkutsk when the Lena 
should become bearable. The first sledges which 
left the city were those of a lieutenant of the navy, 
of the name of Novosiltsoff. He departed on the 
13th of November, and I on the 15th, It was 
considered very late, in comparison with othei^ years, 


wben the Lena is generaUy fro»en so as to aliow 
of travelling on the 1st of November. 

The first twenty-fonr boors I reached Tastakin- 
skoi, one handred and twenty, and Kiesick the fol- 
lowing day, one hundred miles. The road proved 
very bad, otherwise it is no uncommon thing, in this 
part of the world, to traverse three hundred and 
sixty, or three hundred and eighty versts, i. e. more 
than two hundred miles, a^day . Indeed, it is a well- 
known fact, that, in the winter season, the present 
Emperor takes but forty*two or forty*three hours 
in travelling from St. Petersburg to Moscow, a 
distance of about four hundred and twenty mUes. 
Dming my stay in the peninsula of Kamtchatka, a 
courier arrived from St. Petersburg in one hundred 
and five days ; the distance being about thirteen 
thouftand versts, gives the rate of one hundred and 
twenty^five versts a-day. The distance to Okotsk 
was performed in forty days, at the rate of two 
hundred and fifty versts a-day ; while that to Ya- 
kutsk required but twenty-eight days, being three 
hundred and twenty versts per day. The journey 
from Okotsk, by way of Idgiga, to Tygil, is, how- 
ever, 80 perilous, laborious, and tedious, that it is 
rarely performed in less than seventy or eighty days, 
although the distance does not exceed three thou- 
sand versts, thirty being the daily average. As a 
proof of the wonderful rapidity of the Russian 

108 OLBKMA. 

courier, I need bat mention, as an extraotdinaiy 
fact, that my marriage, at St. Peter and St. Paul's, 
was known in London in less than five months from 
the time it took place : — the distance cannot fall 
short of ten thousand miles. There occurred upon 
this route some parhelia, or mock suns, but they 
were faint. The cause of these phenomena I do not 
pretend to understand, but they seem to me to be a 
double reflection from the effects of the atmosphere. 
The weather, during such phenomena, I have re- 
marked to be very cold, very clear, and the atmo- 
sphere filled with small crystal spiculse. I am not 
aware that parhelia are ever seen, at sea, in the high 
latitudes ; but if so, it cannot be from the effects of 
snow. Many parhelia have also been visible in 
England, at a time when there was no snow. I 
should conceive hence, that, from whatever Cause 
the phenomena may spring, it must be the same 
which discovers to us the sun, when beneath the 
horizon ; and this I should term reflection, rather 
than refraction. 

Upon the fourth day I reached Olekma, four 
hundred miles, and, for a trifling sum, exchanged 
vehicles, mine having become injured. Situated at 
the foot of an elevated range of hills, the town of 
Olekma, at the conflux of two streams, has an in- 
teresting appearance. The inhabitants are em- 
ployed in fishing, hunting, and trade. The wea- 

JBR3AT. 109 

ther, thus far, had much favoured us, the thermo- 
meter never having exceeded 20*, while, at Ya- 
kutsk^ we had once 35"*. Much snow fell the fol- 
lowing day, in which we reached one hundred and 
twenty miles, passing through the little village of 
Berezova, which is the most northern on the Lena 
producing rye-flour. 'We reached Jerbat the follow- 
ing day, and again ascended the hill to view the cave : 
the fatigue necessary to ascend this short precipice 
was such, and the efiects of the cold, from the cave, 
upon my perspiration so great, that I was obliged 
to desist from the attempt I had contemplated, viz. 
to furnish myself with a fire-brand, and be lowered 
down into it by a rope. The road hence became 
very narrow and bad ; so much so, that the lower 
parts of the carriages were twice broken and ex- 
changed. So slight, however, is the consequence 
of such a circumstance, that three shillings are suf- 
ficient to procure a complete refit. The stages, upon 
approaching Yittim, are too heavy and long, — the 
horses have to go from thirty to forty miles ; but 
what must be the suffering of the driver in a frost 
of 90® to 46**, even in a perfect calm? The speed 
of travelling is so great, that the mere act of pass- 
ing through the atmosphere is insufferable : the risk 
of travelling is thus considerably increased, as the 
drivers cannot look before them, but are obliged to 
turn their heads, and le} the horses go at will. 


There is no difference between passing, at a rapid 
rate, through a clear and still atmosphere, and 
through a sharp wind at a slow one. In general, 
my drivers arrived frost-bitten, and, in some in- 
stances, severely so. 

Upon the 22d November, O. S., 1 reached Vit- 
tim, the half-way house to Irkutsk, celebrated for 
producing the finest sables in the world. I have 
seen a pair s<4d for twenty pounds ; those, however, 
are of the first quality, too scarce to allow many 
people to have cloaks of them, even if they inclined 
to go to the expense. There is also an inconceiva- 
ble difficulty in selecting one hundred sables of the 
same size and colour, as are requisite to form a 
handsome cloak ; probably, ten thousand would be 
necessary. A cloak of the kind would then be 
worth, at least, twenty thousand roubles, or oa^ 
thousand pounds. From Yittia, we enoountereil 
veiy severe weather, the thermometer vaiying from 
32''to38''; the roads were, however, good, and our 
daily route was about one hundred miles. The 
days were passed in the most dreary and ]iK>iioto- 
nous manner ; even the celebrated Cheeks df the 
Lena afforded no interest at this season. These 
are cliffs upon each side of the Lena, between Ki- 
renga and Yittim, which seem to have been scrrered 
from each other by some convulsion of nature, and 
present a remarkable appearance. We generally 


hfdlted at eight in the morning, to boil a kettle for 
tea, which, witb some hard bread and dried fish, 
constituted our breakfast. Our dinner was also of 
tea; and sapper only varied from breakfast in tbe 
addition of some stewed beef; these were the only 
intervals wbtch we took for rest. I found, by ex- 
perience, that my wife couM bear the fatigue of 
the jonrney even better than myself, therefore, I 
was unwilling to lengthen the time for my owla 
personal convenience. 

Upon the 25th of November we entered tbe 
government of Irkutsk ; and, although we were How 
witb little or no moon, we were still enabled to 
continue the journey by night, as, at every twenty 
or thirty yards, small branches of trees, or bushes, 
are placed, whose green foliage, contrasting with 
the snow, serves to direct the driver. There is, 
moreover, but one path, on each side of which the 
ice lies in large masses, thrown in every direction 
by the force or rippling of the current. 

I readbed Kirenga on the twelfth day of our 
departure ; on the last stage to wEich I overtook a 
ddctdr, and the clerks of the American Company^ 
who preferri^d sleep to the passage of one danger- 
ous stage in the night. Lieutenant NovosiltisojQr 
had written npon the walls of the post-house, that 
the ne plus ultra of bad roads was at hand : iny 
friends were in great apprehension of these dangers. 


till I observed, that Lieutenant Novosiltsoff would 
hardly return, by such a bad road, merely to advise 
others ; and, therefore, unless he did so, he could 
not have written what bore his name. It was late 
when I arrived, but as they persisted in remaining, 
I thought no time was to be lost in keeping the 
advantage of being a-head, aware, as I was, that 
Mrs. Bikord was close behind us, with a superior 
power to procure horses. The station proved no 
farther dangerous than that the ice was only about 
three or four inches thick. It cracked as we slid 
along it, but no accident happened. In truth, the 
bad station alluded to, was the one we had pre- 
viously passed, and which presented a few fissures 
in the ice, caused by the increase of the frost, 
which contracts, and, ultimately, severs the ice. 

At Kirenga I was detained twelve hours, owing 
to the chiefs of the three departments having kept 
up Saturday night rather merrily, so as not to be 
able to enter my passport in the book for that pur- 
pose, or to enable me to proceed without it* . Ki- 
renga is one of those few places thus misgoverned, 
although the town-major is a good sort of a man, 
when sober. He called upon me afterwards; and 
seemed inclined to be angry with, and to report,, the 
secretary of the postmaster, for giving me and my 
wife an asylum in a warm apartment of the post- 
office, contrary to regulations, which prohibit any 



person sleeping in a public office ; but which, in 
fact, the secretary had taken upon himself to do, 
with the most humane consideration, seeing the 
incapability of his chiefs to provide us either with 
passports, horses, or lodgings. On his coming to 
his senses, I made no other remonstrance with him 
than merely saying, that he might save himself the 
trouble, as I should take especial care to represent 
the whole transaction to the governor-general. 
Kirenga is a dear place : meat twelve shillings, and 
bread, two, for thirty-six pounds ; and fish, and 
animals of the chase, both scarce. It serves, how- 
ever, to keep up the communication witfi^ Yakutsk, 
as well as to enable it to be said that there are two 
towns on the Lena !^— which runs a course of three 
thousand miles. 

From Kirenga a fine road and good horses 
enabled us to extend our daily progress to one 
hundred and fifty miles. On the second day after 
leaving it, I was favoured, for the last time, with 
parhelia, in a much more beautiful and singular 
manner than any I had before witnessed, and shall 
endeavour to describe them. There were three 
mock suns, one on each side, and of the same alti- 
tade as the real sun. andavery faint one just over 
it, at the same perpendicular distance above the 
real sun as that was above the horizon. The mock 
suns, east and west of the real one, for it was near 



noon, bore a fiery red appearance upon those parts 
nearest to the real sun, while the outer edges of 
them were gradually shaded to a whitish colour. 
A slightly curved line of light connected the par- 
helia, passing through their centres to the horizon, 
and forming the figure of a rainbow, the sun being 
in the centre of the arch. 

The reader will observe, that the distance from 
A to I, from A to C, from B to 6, and from D to 
H, appeared to be equal ; -but from A to D, and 
from A to B, much greater ; the latter being the 
cause of the rainbow assuming an oval appearance. 
The strength of the rays from the real sun was very 
great ; and I could only regret that the subsequent 
part of my journey, lying along a narrow defile of 
mountains, obstructed the view of so interesting a 
phenomenon. The weather was very cold, with a 
cloudless sky. The wind, or rather the light air, 
was from the S.S. W. 

Upon the third day after leaving Kirenga, 1 
reached Katchouga, and then, passing through the 


large and popalous village of Verkholensk, and a 
beautiful country, producing some good com and 
more hay, we reached the Bratsky steppe, or desert. 
Civility and hospitality on this part of the road are 
carried even to excess. I found the elders of the 
villages ready to show me every attention, and even 
begging me to pass a night in their comfortable 
isbas, or dwellings. The country abounds in cattle 
of all descriptions peculiar to this northern part of 
the world, and the settlements may be termed very 
rich. At Verkholensk I bade a perpetual adieu to 
the Lena; and, although without a moon, traversed 
the Bratsky steppe, during the night, without any 
difficulty, mounds of earth being thrown up at every 
fifty or sixty yards, into which is placed a post, 
chequered black and white, or a black post with a 
white head* Both are termed, I think very unde* 
servedly, Paul's Folly ; they are very useful to tra- 
vellers, and are worthy to be well spoken of. The 
post-houses now became far superior to any we had 
passed farther to the north, and more respectful 
attendance was shown us at every place as we 
approached the capital ; a fact certainly in direct 
contradiction to general observation and experience. 
Passing over the Bratsky steppe^ we met 
immense herds of horses and homed cattle, who 
stopped, and even approached to gaze at us as we 
gallopped over the theatre of their independent 

I 2 


evolutions. Upon the morning of the seventeenth 
day, we reached Irkutsk, in time to breakfast with 
my old friend, Captain Koutigin, the chief of the 
navy at this port. After breakfast, I presented 
myself to his excellency the governor Tzedler, who 
not only proffered the same attentions and assist- 
ance as before, but also insisted upon my accepting 
apartments in his elegant and hospitable mansion, 
appropriated to the residence of the governor. I 
felt truly grateful for this last act of kindness, as 
the elegant accomplishments of his lady, his sister, 
and his daughter, are such as not only make them 
models for imitation in Siberia, but will, any where, 
ensure them the respect of the first circles. I felt 
that my wife, young and ignorant of the world, 
could not fail, in their society, to acquire many of 
those little nameless graces so necessary to form 
the female character. 

In company with my hospitable and excellent 
host, I waited upon the governor-general, Mr. 
Lavinsky. I was received with much hospitality 
and friendship, and was promised every assistance 
in the furtherance of my views ; and, having ex- 
pressed a desire to visit Nertchinsk and Kiakhta 
before I returned to Europe, his excellency kindly 
granted the permission. I did not expect so much 
good fortune; I did not think that a second 
Speranski was sent to be governor-general, but I 


found that Mr. Lavinsky possessed great goodness 
of heart, and an equal degree of amiability^ although^ 
perhaps, less commanding talents; because I be- 
lieve there are few to be found equal to those of 
Mr. Speranskiy whose condescending kindness to 
me was brought more forcibly to my recollection by 
his excellency's introducing me to a Mr. Strannack, 
who is distantly related to him, and with whom I 
enjoyed many pleasant hours. His excellency, Mr. 
Speranskiy married a niece of that much respected 
gentleman, Mr. Planta, of the British Museum. 
Mr. Strannack was about to inspect the post-offices 
in the governments of Irkutsk and Yakutsk, begin- 
ning with the circles of Nertchinsk and Selenginsk, 
which latter places I was also desirous of visiting ; 
we therefore agreed to travel together, having 
previously obtained the consent of a Mr. YakoblefT, 
the chief of this inspecting commission, whom I 
found an agreeable and amiable companion, and 
related to the most commercial, enterprising, and 
wealthy merchants of that name. 

The season for commencing this journey was, 
however, distant some weeks, as it was not yet 
possible to cross the Baikhal, much less the 
Angara, neither of which are considered passable 
before the 1st (or 10th) of January. We therefore 
continued to enjoy the comforts of Irkutsk, in the 
same liberal and hospitable manner as I had done 


upon my outward jonrney. The public balls had 
fallen off, but were more than compensated by the 
private ones given at the houses of five or six 
individuals. There was, however, a masquerade 
ball, which went off well, as also two or three others 
in the assembly-rooms. The maslenitza, or carnival, 
was a time of much amusement, and many well- 
dressed characters went from house to house, I, of 
course, among the merriest, if not the best dressed. 
Thus our time passed in a most agreeable manner, 
although I could not help regretting the death of my 
venerable and respected countryman, Mr. Bentham. 
He died suddenly of an apoplectic fit, with the . 
consolation of knowing that his widow and child 
would be well provided for. 

To society in general, the loss of such an eccen- 
tric character would not be severely felt ; and even 
if it had, it was more than counterbalanced by the 
arrival of a Persian prince, a handsome, intelligent, 
and highly honourable character. He is retained 
as a hostage for the good conduct of his elder bro- 
ther, the reigning prince of a tributary territory 
on the borders of the Black Sea, called, I believe, 
Trebisand. The conduct of the reigning prince 
has caused some disapprobation at the Court of 
Saint Petersburg, which, not being able to arrest 
him, took the present man, whose conduct has 
gained'him the unqualified respect and firiendship 


oi eyeiy inhabitant in this city. Nor are his peca- 
niary means at all incompetent to support a good 
establishment, receiving, as he does, a considerable 
pension from the Emperor Alexander. At all 
pabUc dinners, baHs, &c., he is considered an 
acceptable guest ; nor does he fail to attend them 
reg^ularly,— they serve, at least, to drive away dull 
care, and, probably, to lighten the burden of being, 
in time of peace, a prisoner. There are two others 
of these border princes, one of whom is kept at 
Nishney Udinsk, and th« other at Nertchinsk ;— ^ 
their conduct does not seem to have induced the 
extension of the same liberal allowance as to my 
friend in Irkutsk. I believe they are only allowed 
a rouble per day. Both are charged with murdering 
their elder brothers, to gain the throne or princi- 
pality ; while this one is only charged with being 
brother to a man inimical to the Russian sceptre. 

The Angara ceased to roll its waters upon the 
1st (13th) of January — that is, the road was de^ 
clared open on that day, rather earlier than is usual, 
the 10th (23d) being the time that the merchants 
commence their journey to Kiakhta. The small 
quantity of water in the river this year will suffi- 
ciently account for the difference. Much mischief 
is at times occasioned by the heavy swellings of the 
river, previous to its being frozen. The ice crum- 
bles up to a great height, and threatens destruction 


to the houses upon the beach. There is a peculiar 
quality attending the Angara, the water of which 
in summer is so cold, that the thermometer in June 
was but one degree above the zero of Reaumur ; 
and in winter it is the warmest, as also the most 
rapid, of all the rivers in this part of the world. 
The water is considered as unwholesome, the inha- 
bitants preferring that of the Ushakofsky, which 
passes near to the Admiralty, and which water is said 
to be one-twentieth heavier than that of the Angara, 
the rapidity of which is such that immense sheets of 
ice are carried under water ; and although, during 
the last six weeks, the thermometer had seldom 
been above 30^ of Reaumur, it was still impassable. 
The situatiou of this thriving city hiis already 
been pointed out, and the beauty of its position is 
evident. It is only by supposing it to stand on 
very elevated ground, that we can account for such 
severe frosts as visit it. The latitude is but little 
north of London, yet are the people obliged to 
bury themselves in smoke, both in winter and sum- 
mer ; in the one season, to guard against the cold, 
in the other, against the vermin. Many improve- 
ments and additions in the buildings of the city 
had taken place during my absence, especially in 
brick buildings, the erection of which has been of 
late much encouraged by the government. That 
my readers may not be in doubt as to the respect- 


able appearance of this central Siberian city^ I 
ba¥e annexed a view of it, as taken from the left^ 
or western, bank of the river Angara. 

I again visited the hospitals and g^ols, as well as 
the foundling and workhouse* In all of tkem, I 
could not help admiring the respect and gratitude 
evinced by both descriptions of unfortunates in 
favour of Governor Tssedler. The public work- 
house is an establishment upon a most laudable 
plan, and increasing its revenue and number of in- 
mates in no small ratio. The latter circumstance 
may not speak much in favour of the mother coun- 
try, but I believe there are few who form the wish, 
and few indeed who will ever return. Eight hun- 
dred men, women, and children, now partake of the 
benefits of the establishment. The public schools 
do well, especially that upon the Lancasterian 
system. The want of a seminary for the children 
of the middling classes is, however, severely felt; 
they will not go to the Lancasterian school, and 
they cannot be admitted into the college of nobles ; 
-«on this I have before remarked. 

The Foundling hospital does not meet with 
any success. The Russians appear to be ignorant 
in the mode of governing an institution of the kind, 
else there would certainly be a different result. 
The severity of the climate, the inhumanity and 
negligence of the mothers, and, possibly, the inca- 


parity of the nuraeA, are all to be considered* Be 
the fault where it may, scarcely an instance occurs 
i(f a child being reared. The allowances to the 
institution are liberal, and it is visited by the first 
persons in the city, with a view to its ultimate 

Of all the piAlic offices, that of the Admirally is 
conducted with the greatest management and pro- 
priety. By this body, provisions are forwarded to 
every part of northern Siberia. Stores in abund- 
ance are collected for the use of the dock*yard of 
Okotsk, and the vessels building and built do credit 
to the government of this part of the world. But 
why the executive of the empire should permit tar, 
rope, canvas, iron implements, and many other such 
heavy articles, to be sent from Irkutsk to Okotsk, 
I cannot divine. A single transport from Russia 
would carry as much in one year as four thousand 
horses ; and the prices of the stores so sent by land 
are at least five times what they ought to be. This 
mode of purchasing stores for the use of Okotsk 
and Kamtchatka has been the means of filling the 
pockets of several commandants, owing to the cir- 
cumstance of their being independent of every 


body but the governor-general. 

Irkutsk will, no doubt, in the course of a few 
years, become a place of much greater importance 
to the Russian empire. Its resources would be 


sufficient even for a capital of an independent 
kingdom. The population of Siberia is, at this 
moment, large enough, and the natural means of 
defence are amply suflBcient, e^en in the present 
day, to withstand an invading army. All the 
rivers of western and central Siberia ran from 
south to north, and are consequently to be crossed 
in the face of an enemy. The immense deserts, or 
steppes, can be fired at pleasure, and all means of 
snbsistence for cavalry be thus cut off. All provi- 
sions for the support of an invading army would 
have to come from Europe, consequently, more 
horses than men would be required. The situa- 
tions of many of the chief towns in Siberia are 
also very strong, and could not be reduced with- 
out artillery. To sum up, — all the roads might, 
in a few hours, be rendered impassable. The 
Siberians have only to keep the Kemtchouga 
swamp, and they may defy all the powers of 
Europe. This is, however, far from bemg the 
time for the emancipation of these colonies. The 
Russians are too happy in them to wish to shake 
off the yoke; though the aborigines would, no 
doubt, wish to see themselves upon some other 
footing. This, however, will no doubt occur too 
late to affect them, as, in all common probability, 
they will be extinct at no very distant period; 
there are not, at this moment, under the Russian 


subjection more than seven or eight hundred thou- 
sand. What their numbers were at the discovery 
and conquest of Siberia, it might be as difficult to 
determine as the population of the empire of 
Mexico, at the time Cortes invaded it. Sup- 
posing, generally, that there were several millions, 
what have become of them? 

My stay in Irkutsk occupied me until the 7th of 
January, when I departed, in company with the 
two inspectors of the post. The day was windy, 
but the road was good, over an open and well- 
cultivated country. The banks of the Angara 
present some pleasing views, and numerous popu- 
lous villages are scattered on either side. The 
eastern bank is low, while the western is prettily 
diversified with hills. Each cottage has its gar- 
den ; and a great spirit of industry every where 
appears. The first forty-five miles brought us to 
the magnificent view of the lake Baikhal ; on the 
road to which, we had met and overtaken thou- 
sands of carts and horses going to, and coming 
from, the fair of Kiakhta. 

The approach to the unfathomable Baikhal lake 
may be considered one of the grandest sights in 
the world. The river Angara flows in the fore- 
ground, gradually widening as it draws nearer to 
the lake, till, at length, the source of the river 
forms a pretty inlet, where the vessels for trans- 


porting provisions are laid up. The sight of 
a number of vessels, in an apparently good con- 
dition, was to me a source of great pleasure; and 
I could only regret {hat the season would not 
permit me to embark on board one of them, in- 
stead of crossing, as at present, in a sledge. The 
mountains, every where round the Baikhal, are of 
the most elevated and romantic appearance. They 
are bold, rocky, much indented, and very dan- 
gerous for vessels, in summer, as no anchorage is 
any where to be found. The winds are most 
violent, and subject to instant changes, resembling 
hurricanes. The sea is said to run mountains 
high; and, as the vessels are badly manned and 
worse officered, it is no wonder that numerous ac- 
cidents occur. July and August are considered asr 
the worst seasons. May and June are the best; but, 
whether in bad or good seasons, it not unfrequentiy 
happens that the transports are twenty-five and 
thirty days io^crossing a distance of fifty miles. It 
is here that the power of steam would best exhibit 
its incalculable advantages. A boat might ascend 
the Angara to the Baikhal, cross that lake, and, 
entering the Selenga, reach within twelve miles 
of Kiakhta, and even hold a communication with 
Nertchinsk. All the flour and provisions for the 
north, would be thus more quickly, economically, 
and safely transported ; and the immense traffic 
facilitated between Irkutsk and the several cities 


of Kiakhta^ Petersburg, and Okotsk. The inat- 
tention of government, as well as of the opolent 
merchants, to this object, is truly inconceivable. 

Having reached the Baikhal, out of which the 
Angara flows, and into which the Selenga runs, we 
coasted it for thirty miles, before we arrived at the 
place of crossing. The ice was so clear, transpa- 
rent, and slippery, that I could not keep my feet ; 
yet the horses are so accustomed to it, that hardly 
an instance occurs of their falling. We crossed 
the lake, and reached the opposite village, which 
has a considerable monastery, in time to breakfast: 
we had been two hours and a half in going the 
distance, forty miles. Such is, however, the ra- 
pidity with which three horses a-breast cross this 
lake, that the late governor of Irkutsk usually did 
it in two hours, — three hours are generally taken. 
A horse once fallen, . on the clear ice, I doubt 
the possibility of getting him upon his legs again. 
It is dangerous to attempt stopping them, nor in- 
deed is it, in my opinion, possible ; if, however, 
the vehicle be stopped on this sort of ice, I almost 
question the practicability of starting it again, 
without assistance from other people, to force the 
vehicle on from behind. On the other hand, I have 
seen sledges move so much faster than the horses, 
as to overtake and turn them short round, and 
ultimately to form a complete circle. 

From the monastery, we continued, over a low 


flat pasture, to a large Russian village of eighty 
dwellings. The road-side is well cultivated ; and 
we passed several villages before we reached 
Verchney Udinsk. Latterly, the mountains rose 
into peaks, and threw out some immense bluffs, 
overhanging the Selenga : they are of bare rock, 
but the valleys are in fertile situations. We reached 
Verchney Udinsk, a large, populous, and flourish- 
ing city, on the right bank of the Selenga, distant 
from Irkutsk two hundred miles. It has many 
handsome brick houses, churches, and public edi- 
fices, all running at right angles. There are three 
chiefs in it : the first of them is called an Okrou- 
jenoy chief, viz. inspector of the circuit, and serves 
as a check upon the others ; his business is, to go 
round the commissariat, to listen to, and redress, 
grievances. The second chief is the commissary; 
he goes round all the commissariat, except the 
city, collects the tribute, and performs all the civil 
duties. The third is the town-major, who is chief 
of the city, but has no authority farther. It is 
evident that these three personages must either 
disagree, or combine to fleece stUl more their poor 
dependents. The appointment of the first chief, is 
a new regulation. They are all subject to the 
vice-governor and governor of Irkutsk, who is^ 
himself subject to the governor-general. 

Verchney Udinsk is the grand mart between? 


Irkutsk and Kiakhta, and has risen upon the ruins 
of Selenginsk. A very lucrative and considerable 
trade is carried on round the neighbourhood^ with 
the BuriatSy who are very numerous and wealthy, 
in furs and cattle. There is a strong garrison 
kept up, — it being considered as a frontier place, 
and a daily communication, by a formal report, is 
held with Selenginsk. The town contains four 
hundred houses, and about two thousand six 
hundred inhabitants. The situation is considered 
healthy, and is so far pleasant, that there is a very 
good, though small, circle of society. From it to 
Selenginsk are seventy miles, which I performed^ 
along the transparent Selenga, in seven hours. 
The banks of the river bore the most romantic 
appearance, the hills rising above one another into 
the loftiest mountains, but presenting no appear- 
ance of habitation or cultivation, except in the low 
valleys. The villages are, however, within four 
and five miles of each other, along both the banks 
of the river. I immediately repaired to the abode 
of the English missionaries, settled in this part of 
the world, and need not say, that I was most 
kindly received by Messrs. Stallybrass and Youille, 
with their wives and numerous children ; forming, 
as it were, an English colony in the centre of bar- 
barism. ' Mr. Swan, the third missionary, was absent 
upon a visit to one of the chiefs near Nertchinsk. 


I passed a couple of days in a most agreeable 
manner with these secluded and self-devoted peo- 
ple, who have, indeed, undertaken an arduous task. 
They have been established in the present place 
more than three years ; during which time they 
have erected two neat and homely dwellings, with 
out-houses, small gardens, &c. It is, however, to 
the generosity of the Emperor of Russia that 
these very comfortable residences are to be attri- 
buted, he having generously paid all the expenses, 
and given the society a grant of land, free of actual 
rent or public service. The situation itself is in an 
inappropriate, although a romantic and secluded, 
spot ; but, as it stands upon the opposite bank of 
the river to that of the city, the communication is 
di£Scult, dangerous, and expensive ; — it is now too 
late to change it. As yet, the missionaries have 
not attempted to raise com, nor do I think it ad- 
visable; the price of labour would be infinitely 
greater than the purchase of so small a quantity as 
they require. They have also much more import- 
ant work to attend to,— 1 mean the perfecting 
of themselves in the knowledge of the Mongolian 
language; and to this point they have attended 
with great industry, perseverance, and success. 
They are now almost masters of that difficult 
language; and, when it is considered what have 



been the perplexities with which they bare had to 
contend, it is really surprising how they should, in 
so short a time, have nearly completed dictionariei 
and grammars. While learning the Mongolian 
language, they have also become acquainted with 
the Mantshur, owing to the circumstance of there 
being no dictionary of the Mongolian, except with 
that of the Mantshur. Thus the missionaries had 
to leara the Russian, Mantshur, and Mongolian 
languages at the same time, and to form their 
own dictionaries and grammars, which have the 
advantage of alphabetical arrangement over those 
in former use, in which the words were only classed 
under their dijQTerent subjects. They now speak, 
read, and write the Mongolian with facility. I 
saw many translations of parts of the New Testa- 
ment, which have been distributed about the neigh- 

Many journeys have been made into the interior 
of the country, with a view to form acquaintances 
with the chiefs and principal people, as also with 
the lamas or priests. As yet, however, it is a mat- 
ter of regret, that these very indefatigable minis- 
ters have not been the instrument of converting 
one single individual. Nor is it probable they will; 
for it is only very lately that the Buriats brought 
their religious books, thirty waggon loads, fix)m 


Thibet, af an expense of twelve thousand head of 
cattle. Their tracts have been received, bat have 
never, save in a solitary instance, been looked 
into. Even their Buriat servants secretly laagh at 
the folly of their masters, and only remain with 
them for the sake of getting better food, with less 
work. It appears to me, that the religion of the 
Bariats is of too old a date, and they are of too 
obstinate a disposition, to receive any change. Nor 
is it much to be wondered at : their own religions 
books point out the course they pursue ; and when 
the religion of a people, who have been, from time 
immemorial, acquainted with the art of reading and 
writing, is attacked, and attempted to be changed, 
by three strangers, it is almost preposterous to ex- 
pect any favourable result. For my own part, so 
small are my hopes of their success, that I do not 
expect any one Buriat will be really and truly con- 
verted : for the sake of profit, several may so pre- 
tend ; but, as long as they have their own priests 
and religious instruction, so long the Missionary 
Society will do no more good than simply trans- 
lating their works, and acquiring the knowledge of 
a language useless to England. I must, however, 
humbly add, — >that what is impossible with man, is 
possible with- God! The field chosen on the 
banks of the Selenga, is, no doubt, the very wori^t; 

K 2 


and this is known even to the missionaries, but» I 
presume, it is too comfortable a birth to be g^yen 
up. I have every respect for them persoHaUy, 
but really I cannot think justice is done to the 
people of England, to say nothing of the poverty 
and ignorance of a large portion of the people 
of Ireland, in squandering money in every part 
of the world, while there are so many poor and 
religiously ignorant in our own empire. When 
we shall have all become good and steady and 
wealthy Christians, then will be the time to 
assist others ; and thus, in few words, I bid adieu 
to the subject. 

The servants attending the missionaries are 
Buriats, deserted and detested by all their own 
countrymen, for having forsaken the religion of 
their fathers, merely for the sake of better food ; 
they are tolerably expert in cooking, washing, 
and attending table. Generally speaking, the Bu- 
riats have such scanty fare, that I am not sur- 
prised at their becoming hypocritical. Brick tea 
forms their ordinary food five days in the week ; 
the poor but seldom taste meat, although they 
have generally a little fat mixed with their tea» 
the leaves of which they consume as we do greens, 
and which thus constitute, upon the whole, a very 
nourishing dish. The riches of the chiefs consist 

SfiLBNGlNSK. 183 

in large herds of cattle, and some quantities of 
furs. The number of sheep and goats, in this 
part of the world, is prodigious ; horned cattle 
and horses are also very numerous. The Buriats 
appear a lazy, dirty, but contented, race; and 
quite as unmanly, cowardly, and servile as the 

The city of Selenginsk, standing upon the right 
bank of the river, is, indeed, a miserably decayed 
place, — art and nature seeming to do their utmost 
to bury it in oblivion. A garrison of one thou- 
sand men is still kept up, — to no purpose ; for the 
locality of Verchney Udinsk must soon complete 
its ruin. It possesses but one respectable mer- 
chant, who has, consequently, an undisputed mo- 
nopoly of what trade there is. 

Selenginsk has also suffered much, of late, from 
two serious fires, and is, in other parts, tumbling 
down from the encroachment of the river, which 
annually makes great inroads. It is but twenty 
years since the present centre of the river was the 
centre of the city : the inhabitants have continued 
to recede as far as possible. Some embankments 
they made, in the early part of last year, were 
washed away in the autumn ; and the foundations 
of many houses will, no doubt, be destroyed on the 
next breaking up of the river. There are about 

184 8BLBN6INK. 


two hundred dwellings, and one thousfoid iahg- i 

bitimts, independent of the military. The vicinity ! 

is, however, very well peopled ; and there is much ■ 

com raised by some colonies of Poles, who were 1 

transplanted hither, by the Empress Catherine, 
about 1791. They are the only people I have 
seen, in Siberia, who apply manure to their lands, 
and doubtless receive it again with interest. \ 


Verchncy Udinsk — ^Tchitta — ^Baidalofsky — Bolshoy Zavod— 
Nertchinsk — Tsurukhaitouyefsk, Kondou — Tchindat — 
Khirring — Ashenghinsky — M ogoitu — The Ingoda — 
Tchitta^The Hot Baths—The Etamza— Return to Verch- 
ney Udinsk — ^The Selenga — Kiakhta. 

Haying taken oar farewell of the missionaries^ 
we retraced our steps to Yerchney Udinsk, and 
felt again gratified with the beauty of the scenery 
between the two cities, while the rapidity with 
which we glided along the transparent stream 
served not a little to heighten the feeling. Im- 
mense mountains of porphyry form the banks of 
the Selenga, and 1 have been given to understand 
that gold is also to be found ; but that the natives 
wiU give no information, for fear of having a 
mining establishment placed in their vicinity. ^ At 
Yerchney Udinsk the river expands considerably ; 
and the mountains diverge from one another so 
much, as to form a very open and rural country. 
The pastures are especially rich, and very fine 
timber is to be had; the small cedar-nut is so 
bountiful as* to be exported to all parts of Northern 


At midnight, with my companions, the inspec- 
tors, I qaitted Verchney, and by eight in the 
morning we had reached sixty miles towards the 
town of Nertchinsk, forty of them on the river 
Uda, which flows into the Selenga, near the city 
of the same name. The country was pictoresqne 
until we entered upon the Buriat steppe, void 
of all cultivation, and of every thing but rich 
grass. The road proved very heavy for sledges, 
from the absence of snow. Nothing of the slight- 
est interest is to be seen but solitary post-houses, 
at every twenty or twenty-five miles. In this 
manner we reached one hundred miles, when my 
companions called out to rest, as they were really 
jolted into a fever : I, however, persisted in con- 
tinuing the route day and night. At one hundred 
and fifty miles, we called upon one of the chiefs of 
the Buriats, whose tribe amounts to twenty-three 
thousand, reputed to be the largest in the govern- 
ment of Irkutsk. This taisha, or chief, is a young 
man of good parts, and son to the former chief: 
I called at his chancelry, but he was out; yet were 
passports afforded me, in the Mongolian dialect, 
by bis secretary, ordering every assistance to be 
rendered me by all his tribe, and every respect to . 
be shewn to me. 

The present taisha hs^ two wives, who live 
in perfect harmony. He is fond of the mission- 


arieSy who frequently visit and lodge with him for 
weeks together, and is remarkably forward in the 
English language, which Mr. Swan is teaching 
him. It is but very lately that he lost his father 
and mother, who were rich ; but he has been 
greatly impoverished by his mother's bequeathing 
her immense property to the lamas, or priests. 
His possessions are about three thousand sheep, 
three hundred horses, and two hundred homed 
cattle ; whereas his mother had forty thousand 
sheep, ten thousand horses, and three thousand 
homed cattle, besides a very large property in 
furs. One of the sisters of the present, who was 
lately married to another, chief, received, as a 
dowry, forty cases of furs of the richest kind. 
These are customarily worn till they actually drop 
off—such is the neglect and filthy manner in which 
they live. The women are, on their marriage, 
dressed in satins and silks, bordered with furs; 
the occasion being honoured with the same respect 
as their great feast in the month of February, 
which appears to be a sort of religious feast, in 
imitation of the Chinese. The chiefs and subjects 
live together almost indiscriminately. The chancehry 
of the taisha contains fifteen clerks and a secretary, 
who carry on a most extensive correspondence, 
and it may be considered as exceedingly well 



At sixty miles onward I breakfasted at a beauti- 
foUy situated post-house ; but» with the exception 
of two or three agricultural Tillages, and those near 
the post-houses^ there is neither cultivation nor 
inhabitant along the country. We now met with 
some lakes, and passed a monument erected to the 
memory of the late governor's wife, Mrs. Treskin, 
of Irkutsk, who was travelling from that city to 
the warm baths near this place, when the horses 
taking fright, she was literally kicked to pieces ; 
while, strange to say, her two attendants and 
gallants remained unhurt. The circumstances 
altogether are of so horrid a nature, that it would 
have been impossible not to lament the accident, 
if the character of the unfortunate woman had not 
fully justified the remark which I heard made, that 
her friends would have consulted their own and her 
interest much better, instead of raising the memorial, 
to sufier her name to be buried in total oblivion. 
At sixty miles farther we reached a Buriat village, 
where we were plentifully supplied with a small 
species of trout. 

The road was still very bad, being a vast plain, 
and having but little snow upon it. The in- 
dentations of the hills were, however, well 
wooded, and the scenery w^, upon the whole, 
picturesque. The country thence continued low 
and sandy till I reached the village of Tchitta, 


the river Dear wkiob is a considerable stream, 
numiiig into the Ingoda, which unites with the 
Amoor, and is ultimately lost in the Eastern 
Ocean. There is a beautiful little yillage, called 
Tchindat, upon an island in the river» beyond 
which the sceneiy much improves. The drive 
down the river wa9 very d^igfatful from the ever- 
changing views which w<ere offered to us-^^the 
bold, magnifioent, and bfurren rocks looking at 
once grand and terrific ; nor was this sublime 
scenery less acce|>table9 when contrasted with tiie 
beautiful and fertile pastures every where around ; 
with here and there a straggling corn-field, and a 
hamlet smiling through the dark w;oods which lay 
at the foot of the mountain precipices ; or winding 
round and diminishing, as the valleys continued to 
recede from our view. At six in the evening, we 
reached the village of Baidalofsky, upon the 
left bank of the Ingoda, which here assumes a 
treacherous appearance, affording but a very unsafe 
journey over it. The stream is so rapid, that it is 
seldom frozen for any length of time. We were 
twice upset into the river, and lost one of the 
horses. Indeed such was the state of the weather, 
ihat no greater degree of frost, than 15^ had been 
observed since I left Verchney Udinsk. 

We now began to hear favourable accounts of the 
exertions of the new chief of Nertchinsk, who had 


materialiy ameliorated the condition of the convictt 
and peasants. Again my companions began to 
lament their hard duty, and requested me to halt 
and pass the night comfortably in a post-house. I, 
however, persuaded them to continue seventy miles 
farther along a river which continually gave under 
us, and in no slight degree alarmed one of my 
friends, who was certainly bom for other scenes 
than travelling in Siberia, unless in the easiest and 
most commodious manner. We were obliged at 
last to walk along the banks of the river, from the 
impossibility of getting the horses along. The 
thermometer, as we approached Nertchinsk, fell to 
38** Reaumur ; and although I had but my simple 
toilanka, or leathern frock, I felt nothing but 
anxiety to push on, aware that if I could not return 
within a certain time, I should not be able to quit 
Irkutsk before the month of May. 

The scenery was now very fine : elevated perpen- 
dicular bluffs, with pretty cultivated valleys, and 
several pleasant villages. The river Ingoda also 
assumed a more considerable appearance, widening 
as we reached to the eastward, and, at the city 
of Nertchinsk, being really a formidable channel. 
We reached the city late in the evening; its 
distance from Verehney Udinsk is about five hun- 
dred miles. Hawing waited upon the three chiefs, 
and delivered our credentials, Mr. Strannack and 


I sallied out to view. the place. It is vilely built, 
widely scattered, badly situated, and worse inha- 
bited, containing two hundred dwellings and one 
thousand inhabitants. Three tolerable brick edi- 
fices are the only objects worthy of notice in it ; 
and, except that it has a church, it is merely a 
larger picture of any Russian village. 

The site of the city has, within a few years, been 
removed hither, a circumstance which may, in some 
measure, excuse its miserable appearance ; but 
nothing can atone for its present bleak and exposed 
situation, without even fire-wood in its vicinity. 
The site of the old town was far superior, afibrding 
shelter and many conveniences which are not now 
to be obtained. The town of Nertchinsk stands 
at the junction of the Shilka and Nertcha rivers, 
uniting with the Amour, of which, however, there 
is no part within the limits of the Russian empire. 
I was hospitably received by the different ofBcers, 
especially the town-major, who distinguished him- 
self in the late French invasion. 

We quitted Nertchinsk for the Bolshoy Zavod, 
or Great Fabric, distant one hundred and eighty 
miles, and over a highly picturesque park-scenery, 
reminding me much of the upper banks of the 
Irtish, where the hills appeared as if placed upon 
a fertile plain, without any sort of communication 
with each other. The rocks are extremely bare. 


and, with the exception of wood in the valleys, there 
is little or nothing of cultivation to be seen. The 
thermometer now fell to 35*^, and the air assumed 
a chillness I had not for some time been accustomed 
to. The soil is, however, so rich, that corn vil- 
lages are every where to be seen all the way to 
Boishoy Zavod, which shows an active encourage- 
ment on the part of the chief, of those more imme- 
diately under his eye and command. The fact is, 
that, in consequence of the numerous desertions 
upon the high road to Verchney Udinsk, it is not 
the wish of the government to render the country 
either populous or cultivated. On the contrary, 
every thing possible is done to make the country 
so impassable, that deserters may be obliged to re- 
sort to the post-houses for subsistence, where they 
are secured, and. sent to the prison of Verchney 
Udinsk. Should they take the route of the Ton- 
gousi, or Bratsky district, they are certain of being 
shot by the hunters or chiefs, unless they produce 
a passport from the chief of Nertchinsk. The in- 
habitants occupying the corn villages are all exiles 
of the upper sort, and yet as ill-looking a class of 
people as I ever beheld. I was glad to pass them 
in safety, although at the price of being upset in a 
dangerous manner. We were, however, rather 
frightened than hurt, and reached safely the Zavod, 
or Chief Fabric, late in the evening. 


A sotmd sleep, which we had not enjoyed for 
many days or nights, qualified us to pay our re- 
spects early the jiext morning to the chief, whom, 
with his son-in-law, I remembered as serving at 
Bamaoule during the time I visited that place. A 
large feast had been held to honour the marriage 
of a doctor to a pretty plump woman, with a little 
money ; and I consequently found the people in 
silks and satins, and otherwise so daubed, that I 
began to augur ill of the place. It is the most 
miserable, yet extensive, assemblage of huts I have 
any where witnessed. Even the residence of the 
chief is but to be compared to two or three yourtes 
joined to one another. 

I saw nothing at Nertchinsk which could inspire 
me with any other sentiments than those of 
contempt and indignation at the inconsiderate 
conduct of the persons in authority over the 
poor criminals. It is impossible to conceive 
the haggard, worn-down, wretched, and half- 
starved appearance of these victims. Whatever 
may have been their crimes-and I believe them 
horrible enough — they never can have authorized 
the present inconsiderate mode of employing 
them. The knout, the whip, the brand, and the 
fetter, are nothing, when compared with the^ 
imposition of labotir, continued from sun-rbe to> 
sun-set for six months in the year, and during. 


the other six to keep them in absolute idleness. 
The cutting of wood, getting in of hay, or attend- 
ance upon officers, is almost denied to the poor con- 
vict, from the fear of his deserting. Alas ! whither 
can he go?— To places equally wild and savage ? 
to those where the brute creation would equally 
torment him with those of his own species t The 
man who is sentenced to drag out the remainder of 
his existence in the mines of Nertchinsk cannot live 
long. What have become of the many thousands 
of beings sentenced annually to this place ? where 
are their wives and families ? for here the work is 
carried on only by the constant arrival of fresh vic- 
tims. Of Ekatherinebourg I had certainly formed 
a low idea, but Nertchinsk is, in reality, the only 
place that I have seen where man is treated harshly, 
throughout the Russian empire — I except the abo- 
rigines of Siberia. I should have expected and 
have hoped, that the present chief of this place 
would have taken a lesson from the well-organized 
establishment of Bamaoule, and where he served 
for several years, of the humanity and consideration 
every where apparent in the acts of that govern- 
ment. Why may not the exiles and peasants of 
this place, like the people of Barnaoule, be allowed 
every alternate day to themselves ? It would be 
better both for the government and the exiles, if 
they were banished from this world at once, and 


the expense of their transportation would then be 

The principal fabrick, or Bolshoy Zavod, con- 
tains about four hundred yourtes^ and three thou- 
sand individuals. No one dwellings whether of 
public or private property, has even a decent ap- 
pearance ; they are all, in fact, huts : and such is 
the sterility of the soil, and such the severity of 
the climate, that no spar is to be had of a greater 
length than eight or ten feet, and even that comes 
from a great distance. The situation of this fa- 
brick corresponds with its condition ; it is in a deep 
hollow, surrounded by high and barren rocks, as 
bleak and dreary, and as inhospitable a place, as 
can be imagined. The allowance to the criminals 
is on a par with every thing else, — it is thirty-six 
roubles, equal to twenty-seven shillings, a-year, to 
procure them food, raiment, firing, and lodging. 
The winters are considered as severe as in any 
other part of Siberia ; for this, its eastern situa- 
tion will sufficiently account. The demand for 
warm clothing and firing is, by consequence, com- 
paratively great ; and the climate is, in short, such 
that the fabricks cannot be worked during the 

Mertchinsk, in all its concerns, reminds me 
forcibly of those pathetic descriptions of the mines 
of Siberia drawn by romantic writers ; here their 


id^a$ ajre verified ; — yet it cannot be supposed tkat 
the government of the qountry is so lost to feeliog, 
to h^mai\ity, £^^d good poUcy, as to wink at con- 
duct of the kiud* They must certainly be ignorant 
of wh^t ia doing, s^nd of what the criiviiis^s suffer ; 
yet how, then, Ci^u we account for a continuance of 
sMicik severe treatment, after the visit of the cele- 
brated Mr. Speranski? Ti^s is, indeed, ^ serious 
question and charge. Since my arrival at St. Pe- 
tersburg, however, I have been informed, Aat it is 
the intention of government to give up the esta- 
blishment at Nertcbi];isk altogether, and withdraw 
the people: a determination which I hope origi- 
nated with Mr. Sperapski. It is, indeed^ better 
policy than the old system of oppression, and yet 
bad enough, for the district is highly productive 
and valuable. 

There are six silver foujaderies, namely, Nert- 
chinsk, Doutcbarsk> ICoutom^sk, Ekaterininsk, 
Gazimoursk, and Sbilkinsk. There is also a new 
foun4ery» named Petrofsk^ for the pasting of iron 
for the use of the silver founderies. The thirteen 
principal mines, when worked, produced former^ 
about a bullion of poods of ore, or three hundred 
poods of silver, per annum ; which is nearly one 
pound weight of silver for every four thousand 
poqnds weight of ore. The present {u-oportion is 
one-third les^, or from o^ hi^d^ed and eighty to 


two handred poods of silver per annum, besides 
twenty-five thousand poods of lead, which is of no 
service whatever. When the transport of this 
silver to St. Petersburg, by especial conductors and 
guards, is calculated, together with the maintenance 
of the establishments at Nertchinsk, and a large 
miHtary and Cossack force, who must be fed from 
Irkutsk, I need scarcely say, that the whole is a 
rmnQus as well as cruel concern. What is half a 
mSKon of roubles — what are twenty-five thousand 
pounds to the Emperor, the produce of forty-eight 
thousand and twenty-seven individuals, or ten 
shillings and five-pence per head per annum, bemg 
the vahie extracted from the mines of Nertchinsk? 
The following is the population : — 

Staff Officers 78 

Unclassed Officers 699 

Gauvkts in the mines 2^458 

Persons released from labour 1,216 

Boys, who do, or do not, recdve maintenance from 

Government 1,611 

Total Male Convicts 6,062 

Female branehes of the above 6,09& 

Peasants attached to the founderies 17*773 

Females, ditto 1 8,094 


Grand Total 48,027 

Oi these, there are actually but sixteen hundred 

L 2 


and two able>bodied men in the mines, and these 
are guarded by five hundred and sixty-four inferior 
officers, and to prevent their secreting gold, silver, 
or precious stones. 

Although the chief and various officers had the 
politeness to invite me to some entertainments, 


which were to be gi^en in the course of the week, 
I declined them from a feeling of th^ apparent and 
real .misery so visible every where, that a heart alive 
to any sense of humanity, or kind feeling, could 
not fail to contrast the state of the two classes in 
this city of huts. At most, such conduct would 
only stifle better and more praiseworthy thoughts. 
Even in the dissipation of a ball-room, I could not 
discard from my mind the abject distress and mi- 
sery every where prevailing, and I felt it necessary 
to follow the example of Mr. Speranskiy who also 
remained here but one day. I am certain that the 
goodness of his excellency's heart must have pre- 
vented his remaining to witness such a scene. De- 
parting for Tsurukhaitouyefsk late in the evening, 
I arrived early the following morning, the road be- 
ing very good, and the country, latterly, interesting; 
the distance is sixty miles. Tsurukhaitouyefsk is 
a large village, called a fortress, on the banks of 
the Argoun, unlike the city and chief fabrick of 
Nertchinsk. It did my heart good to see to what 
a state of comparative perfection the numerous 


vegetable gardens are brought in this industrious 
place; the order, cleanliness, hospitality, and happy 
state in which the inhabitants appear to live, are 
too apparent to be passed over in silence. They 
are principally Cossacks, who have certain privileges 
and protections, which cannot be infringed ; they 
are, both officers and privates, generally a rich 
and generous and noble people : in short, the in- 
habitants, along this line of frontier, are all that is 
understood in the word Cossack. The vicinity 
abounds in the richest metals and minerals ; but is, 
as I have shewn, of no great value during the pre- 
sent system of policy. I saw a tolerably good 
collection of minerals, in the possession of an old 
Russian, who takes great delight in shewing, and, 
being a poor man, is naturally desirous to dispose 
of them, but does not appear to know their value. 
He demands about two hundred and fifty pounds 
for the collection, a prodigious sum in that place, 
but a single specimen might be worth the money 
if brought to this country. Its weight is one 
hundred and seventy English pounds, and it is 
composed of so many minerals, that he calls it the 
'' Mother of Minerals." Among other specimens, 
were an amethyst, a noble topaz, an aquamarine, 
onyx, and several beautiful crystals, besides 
many thousands of small specimens. The whole 
of these precious stones are imbedded in frozen 


sand, and, I shoald think, it would requke great 
care and diffionlty to remove it entire. Of the 
Scotch pebbles, the large size and the beauty of 
the veins were really astonishing ; I made him an 
offer for one of the specimeiis, but the old gen- 
tleman wontd sell no less thdn the whole. Being 
introduced to him by the chief of the Cossacks, 
and upon hearing my name, he remarked, that he 
had read it in the Gazettes ; adding, that as ^m 
world appeared too small for my movements, he 
expected, ere long, to hear of my arrival in tiie 

We quitted the fortress, and resumed our jour- 
ney along the Knes; by midnight we had made 
but thirty miles, along a snowless desert pasture. 
The night was exceedingly cold ; and I suffered 
from want of exercise, being in an open sledge: 
the thermometer stood at 86*". My companions 
here became alarmed at the difficulties which pre- 
sented themselves against our progress, as well 
from the want of snow, as from that of horses. 
They consequently determined to return by the 
route they had come; but, for myself, I had long 
made it a settled plan never to go over the same 
road, while another is practicable, and, therefore, 
determined to proceed alone. I felt regret at 
parting company with my friends; but it must 
have taken place soon, as, from their continual 


stc^pages for rest and refresiittient, I must hare 
Memuned to outsail them. Tke quantity of their 
bai^^Bgey vith tibree servants to attend them , rendered 
it also impossible for them to keep pace witii me, 
who was akme, with a kni^psm^k only ; and, indeed, 
the tnteonyenienees and difficulties which afterwardbs 
happened to me, proyed the prudence of their 

I resKslied Kondou, forty miles, by a fine road, 
having previously come through a siMit fditc, 
the director of which presented me with a few 
mineralogical specimens. Kondou is an ancient 
place, and considered to be the same with Tchmdat- 
tnmkouy, the birth-place of the conqueror ^ 
China. I saw many remains of large Tartar ovens, 
Imt nothing that excited my curiosity so much as 
an old lady of niDety-tiiree years of age. Sh^ was 
bom in the vicinity of Nertcfainsk, smd was now 
not only in the full possession of all her faculties, 
but in strong health, and capable of attending to 
die cares of her house and family. I had a most 
excellent dinner prepared for me by her own 
hands, and left her, highly gratified, to pursue my 
journey over the immense pasture, passing through 
droves of three or four thousand horses. The 
comoitry became mote sterile, but somewhat more 
elevated, as I reached an hospitable dwelling on 
the river Borgie, and then the fortress of Tchindat, 


situated near the little river Onons, which contaim 
sixty dwellings, a party of Cossacks, and nothing 
besides. At fonr miles from it, I passed throagh 
a large village of Russian agriculturists, who live 
here free from all the cares of the world, but those 
of the tax-gatherers, against whose extortions I 
heard bitter complaints. The raising of corn appears 
to be pursued with some difficulty ; but success 
attends the breeding of cattle. The inhabitants I 
have found civil, hospitable, and obliging, when 
properly applied to, but otherwise both ignorant 
and obstinate. 

At the next place I was attended by a Cossack, 
and a guard of honour was mounted, and a sen- 
tinel placed at my door to await my orders. The 
reports were also made to me, and, with this 
increase of apparent importance, I continued my 
route until I reached the half-way village between 
the fortresses of Tchindat and Kharinsky, almost 
shaken to pieces, from bad roads and a worse 
vehicle, a common and open t616ga, — ^the total 
absence of snow rendering it necessary to proceed 
with wheels. To the south, the hills begin to 
make their appearance, and of course offer in- 
ducement to look about, after the late dearth of 
scenery. I here met with the first Tongousian Cos- 
sacks. They subsist on a salary of six roubles, 
or four shillings and sixpence, a year, without 


bread or clothing; yet is a sword held up by these 
half-naked wretches. They are, in general, a 
miserable set, but more particularly so at this mo- 
menty when their occupation prevents their going 
in search of jGsh, game, or furs. I found them a 
contented, and even a happy, people, if possessed 
of a couple of cows or horses. The Cossacks treat 
them well, and feed many of them, whom they 
employ as servants; nothing will induce them, 
boweVer, to pass a night in a house so long as 
they have their own miserable yourte to go to. 
Indeed, I recollect one of the chiefs contrasting 
the wholesome, free, and fresh air, which pervaded 
his yourte, to the stifled heat of a house : I think 
he was right in his choice. 

In all the villages I had lately passed, along 
these lines, there was nothing but lamentations ; 
a veteran battalion, which had been stationed 
there for twenty yfears, was ordered to the go- 
vernment of Tomsk, distant about two thousand 
five hundred miles ; the women and children 
could not accompany them. Their only riches 
consisted in a comfortable dwelling, a vegetable 
garden, and possibly a cow; with these they 
lived content and happy : now they will be sold 
for a trifle to the Cossacks who remain. The 
case is, indeed, a very hard one, but admits of no 


ftom fSie vUlage of KhinriDg the scenery im- 
proves ; &e soil ftssntti^ a dat^ mouldy aj^eair- 
aiice, and a good many eoim-fietds are scattered 
about. The river Onons riiiiB albD^ the valley 
which now formed my route ; in descending one 
of the hiUs tiie horses took fHght, and got the 
bietter of the driver, who, foolishly enough, turned 
them down, instead of up, Obe hill, and thus not 
only upseit, but brokie the yehicle to pieces ; as 
usual, I escaped unhurt, though almost miracu- 
lously. We crossed the horses, with the baggage 
lashed upon them, and reached a village, all safe, 
distant ten miles from the scene of the accident. 
There I found an economical granary, upon a 
plan which might be well copied by the inhabitants 
of more civilized countries. Every head of a 
family agrees to reserve a certain proportion 
of his grain for the consumption of the following 
year, in the event of a scarcity. It has only this 
difference from the savings' banks in England, — 
that, in the one case, it is to prevent future famine, 
and, in the other, future poverty. Upon my jour^- 
ney to Mogoitou, I was again upset, and nearly 
dashed to pieces ; the horses going down a ste^ 
hill, set off at full speed, and hauled the driver, 
myself, and baggage, down the descent at a won- 
derful rate : again, however. Providence protected 
me, and the accident had no disastrous conse- 


qiience. The horses, it seems, are aware that 
winter is not yet over, and they do not like to 
be so early put to wheeled vehicles. There has 
seldom been known a winter in which there was 
so great a want of snow, not even the hills re- 
taining a vestige of it. The misfortunes of this 
day operated upon me so powerfDily, it being my 
wife's birth-day, 24th January, O. S., that I 
determined no longer to defy flie Fates, and 
accordingly tarried for the night. I had come 
over a hilly and well- wooded country of considerable 
cultivation, as also towards Ashenghinsky, the 
fortress most south-east of any on this line of the 
frontiers between China and Russia. The dis- 
tance to Ashenghinsky is thirty miles ; it is, like 
Tddndat and Tsurukhaitouyefsk, a fortress, con- 
taining sixty Cossacks and an officer, who is bro- 
ther to the conmiandants of those other fortresses. 
The village of Ashenghinsky is pleasantly situated, 
and no person is permitted to live beyond it. 
Betwixt that place and Kiakhta there are two or 
three other fortresses, but no communication be- 
tween them, except by the foot of the mountains 
which divide the two empires of China and Russia. 
The whole distance to Kiakhta is five hundred 
miles, which cannot be accomplished on horseback, 
with the same horses, in less than ten days. I had 
not so much spare time, and therefore reluctantly 


retraced my steps to Mogoitou, with the design of 
getting upon the great route^ one hundred miles 
from Tchitta, and thence to Kiakhta, which I cal- 
culated could be done in four or five days. The 
evening was passed in celebrating my wife's birth- 
day, with a good supper and a glass of punch ; my 
host, however, had taken it for granted that I was 
a bachelor. 

Next morning I departed, and overtook about a 
hundred of the veteran battalion, who had been 
stationed upon the southern parts of the lines. I 
could not help smiling at the officer in command, 
as he put his head, enveloped in a night-cap, out 
of a cart to salute me ; he was besides wrapped up 
in fars of various sorts and colours. I recollected 
that, when I served in Canada with seamen, I 
considered it as shameful to ride while the saUors 
walked, for I did not consider myself as a judge 
of their fatigues or sufferings, without thus par- 
taking of them ; I, shall, however, offer an excuse 
for this officer, who had certainly passed his 
grand climacteric. The road was sandy and 
stony, and but little pasture to be seen, yet the 
valleys presented scenes of interest. The little 
river Onons runs along the main valley, which is 
miserably inhabited by Raskolnicks or Polish schis- 
matics. At one hundred miles, I reached the 
Ingoda river, over a poor and sterile district, which 



does not even afford post-houses; and, being 
without any attendant or Cossack, I found great 
difficulty in getting on. The people were not 
only uncivil, but inhospitable ; so much so, that 
we frequently passed stations or villages without 
receiving any food; a circumstance I the more felt, 
as with the real Russians, or aborigines, I had 
always lived in clover. The carts hereabouts 
cannot go ten miles without some accident, and it 
requires no little ingenuity to repair them upon the 
road, so as to enable the traveller to reach the next 
station. Upon regaining the river Ingoda, we 
were again in the vicinity of snow ; which enabled 
me to have recourse to the sledge, the safest and 
most comfortable way of travelling. I thus reach- 
ed Tchitta early in the morning, where I found 
all bustle and confusion, awaiting the arrival of 
one of the most amiable men I know, namely, the 
governor of Irkutsk, Mr. Tzedler. I almost re- 
gretted meeting his excellency, as it seemed, only 
to part with him; and yet I could never have 
quitted Siberia, without saying adieu to that man 
and that family, whom, in all Asia, I most loved, 
and to whom I am so much indebted for kindness 
and friendship. May health and happiness ever 
attend both him and his! My route towards 
Verchney Udinsk was not marked by any thing 
peculiar ; I moved along at a quick rate; till, in 


crossing the dreary and stony steppe, the vehicle 
was kuocked to pieces, there hemg do sikow upon 
the ground, and I was consequently compelled to 
walk the rest of the way. 

I re^iched Yercluiey Udinsk late in the evening, 
and waited upoa the town-major ; after which, I 
determined to visit the hot baths, that I might bid 
adieu to the female part of the governor's family. 
Having procured a Cossack and sledge, I departed 
at midnight, aad the next evening reached the 
baths, distant one huadred and thirty miles ; but 
on what sort of road, or over what sort of country, 
i was perfectly ignorant, fatigue having quite in- 
capacitated me from noticing. I wcus most kindly 
received by the ladies, and induced to stay a day 
with them, during which I inspected the baths^ 
hospitala, &c. which I found upon a tolerably 
good plan, with many conveniences. The water 
of the baths may be tempered froni 160*' down- 
wards ; they are strongly recommended fwr the euro 
of all chronic and rheumatic diseases, and are pro- 
verbial for the cure of that disease, which may be 
called the plague of the peninsula. There is little 
difference between those of Malka, in Kamtchatka, 
and these; both are sulphureous. There are 
many springs^ the largest of which is two feet 
square and one deep ; a thick dense fog cour 
tiauaUy hovers over the place^ whioh^ I think. 


contributes to the facility with which the fine 
vegetables appear to be raised. An overseer 
is appointed to look after the buihlings, receive 
the rents, and keep a journal; he hAs a few 
workmen under his directions, and, witisi the 
excellent aoconunodatioos of Us own, a sort of 
boarduvg-ho^iae, he haa altogether a comfortable 
place. The site is highly picturesque, being but 
three miles from the lake Baikhal, which is seen 
in all its( magnificence from a little eminence 
at the back of thh hospital ; the country round is 
thickly wooded, and provisions are not dear. It 
is directed by the colonial government, at little 
or uo expense to them ; yet it is a pleasant resort 
during the months of March and April, after the 
lair of Kiakhta, when all the rooms and cottager, 
pubUc and private,, are crowded with m^rchante 
and their families. 

I imprudently continued in a bath for a quarter 
of an hour, and made myself very weak, yet persist- 
ed in immediately retracing my steps to Yerehney 
Udinsk, having bid adieu to my kind and amiable 
friends. My route lay through a thick forest, to 
the borders of the Baikhal ; after which I coasted 
along the outer edge of the ice for eighteen miles, 
a distance easily performed in one hour and a half ; 
t^nce through a thick forest of lofty pine-trees. 
The beauty of the route i& surprising, and is the 


work of the late governor Treskin. I passed, at a 
prodigious rate, along the picturesque but well- 
fenced banks of a mountain ; the horses were ex- 
cellent, the drivers a set of fellows equally accus- 
tomed to whip and be whipped, — i. e. a desperate 
crew of convicts, sent here for this express service. 
After midnight, my route lay over numerous 
lakes, some of them of so poisonous a nature, that 
many of the convicts lost their lives, while forming 
the road a few years ago. Ducks, geese, and 
other birds, cannot live after drinking of the water, 
though it appears that swans offer an effectual 
resistance to the poison. I saw many of them 
swimming upon the principal lake ; for, whether 
from fear or superstition, they are never disturbed 
by the inhabitants. The journey was rendered 
very unpleasant from the superior respect which 
my Cossack paid to his own comforts, monopolizing 
nearly the whole of the cart, and snoring in such 
a manner as effectually to prevent tnyself as well 

„ a« ari,e, .-a h.L '^ ^^ «,, ,». 

whatever. The inhabitants upon this by-road are 
regular Russian schismatic convicts, and a more 
Tyburn-like set I never beheld. Woe to him, 
either in person or pocket, who travels as I did, 
without prepared provisions ! — generally they are 
too obstinate to sell any thing, and, when they do, 
wUl charge five hundred per cent, upon articles of 


tiecessity; sooner than do which^ I, at many 
villages, went sine food. 

Upon the river Etamza I made fifteen miles, 
when I entered upon the Selenga at its conflux 
with the latter river. The morning was very cold 
and windy, and almost too severe to allow onr pro- 
gress at any rate ; but my anxiety to get on, 
backed by a dram of spirits to the drivers, induced 
them to continue, and I, for the fourth time, 
reached Verchney Udinsk, the latter psM of the 
scenery being lofty and well wooded. My reports 
having been delivered to the several chiefs, I dined 
with them, and then departed for Kiakhta, one 
hundred and fifty miles distant ; the first twenty- 
five of which were over the mountains, passing 
through a large village of one hundred peasants' 
dwellings. The road thence proving very indif- 
ferent, I descended the steep banks of the Selenga, 
pursuing my route along the river, and reached in 
good time the missionary station. The inhabitants 
had been expecting me for many days, not ima- 
gining that I would cross the country, or proceed 
beyond the Bolshoy Zavod, which to them appeared 

I breakfasted with these devout gentlemen, and 
then proceeded for Kiakhta, the first station to 
which was twenty miles along the Selenga. The 
route is at present dangerous, the river having 



given way under the numerous loaded waggons 
which crossed a tender part of the ice, at a time 
when the thermometer had shown for two days 2^ of 
heat. Along the Selenga, passing through forty 
miles of dreary scenery, with only a few miserable 
villages to be seen, I reached the point where the 
road turns off from the river ; and that which leads 
to the Chinese frontiers is continued over a more 
open, wooded, and, of course^ interesting country. 
On reaching Kiakhta, the hills rise in a command* 
ing manner, spreading out in various directions, 
and forming beautiful, but unproductive, valleys. 
Every thing, in short, denotes a frontier situation, 
and something seemed to say, that here were the 
limits of two mighty empires. 


Kiakhta — Ctiutchie — Selenginsk — Irkutsk — The Angara 
— Nishney Udinsk — Ulan — Krasnojarsk •^ Yenisseisk — 
The Black river — Atchinsk — Bogotova — Kemtchiega'^ 
Perecoule— Tomsk — ^Tashieka— Tchkn — Kunsk — Bara- 
binsky steppe — Vosnesensk -*• Yalanka — * Zavolgalka — 

Thb barracks and storehouses upon the banks 
of the litde brobk Kiakhta^ before the entry of the 
fortress so called^ have a pleasing appearance. 
This is a neat and regularly built town^ with four 
hundred and fifty houses, and four thousand inha- 
bitants, a larger proportion to each dwelling than 
is probably to be found in any other part of the 
Russian empire. The little brook of its own 
name serves as the boundary of China and Russia, 
upon the right bank of which the fortress stands. 
Kiakhta is considered healthy, although the water 
is not good ; but, for the more wealthy inhabitants, 
this essential article of subsistence is brought, at a 
considerable expense, from a distance of two miles, 
and fire- wood from a distance of twenty. The soil 
is so poor, that even common vegetables are with 
difficulty raised. 

M 2 


The dbtrict of Kiakhta is governed by what is 
called a director, who has also the administratioii of 
the custom-house department, and unites in his own 
person the judicial, political, military, and com- 
mercial superintendance. The two former offices 
are subject to a revision from Irkutsk, but the 
latter are dependent only upon the approbation of 
the cabinet. The situation of the director is one 
of great importance and trust, as well as of con- 
siderable personal emolument. The pre3ent officer 
has held it twelve or thirteen years, during which 
time he has doubtless had the means of amassing a 
most princely fortune, if his inclination lay that 
way; he is, however, not yet disposed to quit his 
command, and appeared to me to be a most honour- 
able, intelligent, and indefatigable servant of the 

Kiakhta, I have already said, is a regular, well- 
. built town ; but beyond this it can never reach, so 
long as the jealousy and envious policy of the 
Chinese are maintained. No stone buildings are 
allowed to be erected, except only a church for 
public worship ; and, though situate in a dreary, 
sterile basin, it possesses many comforts. Beyond 
the fortress, and immediately opposite to Maimat- 
chin, is the town of commerce, now called Old 
Kiakhta, the residence only of the merchants, no 
officer or stranger being permitted to sleep in it, 


according to an article of the treaty of both empires. 
I visited Old Kiakhta in company with one of the 
most respectable merchants, agreeably to the re- 
quest of the director/ and found it to contain forty- 
five dwellings, many of which are very superior 
edifices, and have within them very rich stores. 
Under the countenance of the same respectable 
merchant, I continued my route towards the Chi- 
nese fortress, for so it is called, distant about two 
hundred fathoms fi*om the old town of Kiakhta. 
Of all the celebrated places I have seen, and which 
have nothing to support their celebrity, Maimatchin 
is the most eminent. It is a small, ill-built, mud 
town, with four narrow mud-paved streets, running 
at right angles ; containing, during the fair, from 
twelve to fifteen hundred men and boys, for 
the female sex are prohibited. The houses are 
without windows, and there is a total absence of 
every thing that can interest even the most ignorant 
or careless. Such, then, is Maimatchin, which re- 
minded me much of the old Moorish towns in the 
south of Spain and Portugal, and of those situate 
along the northern coast of Africa. The absence 
of windows towards the streets may be pardonable, 
as at least not mischievous ; but to the absence of 
the fair sex is mainly attributable that dreadful 
degeneracy which is said to pervade all ranks of 
society among them. The streets, as well as the 


dweVings, are clean ; the latter are approached by 
a narrow courts on each side of which are the store- 
houses. ^ In the centre of this oblong square is the 
actual residence where the Chinese live, eat, drink, 
smoke, sleep, and carry on their business; and it is 
divided into two apartments. The first is aj^ro- 
priated to the sale of goods, which are fantastically 
displayed; and fires, candles, brass stoves, and 
ovens, meet the eye at every comer, in the centre, 
or wherever the person maybe who wishes to light 
his pipe. The other apartment is appropriated to 
the guests for eating, drinking, &c. and differs from 
the first in having a raised platform, which serves 
for a bed or dining-place ; upon this, during the 
day, the blankets, pillows, and cushions are neatly 
rolled up, and ornamentally arranged. The fixtures 
of both apartments, which are richly prepared, are 
of mahogany, brightly polished. 

I paid my respects to half-a-dozen of the prin- 
cipal Chinese merchants, some of whom are well 
versed in the Russian language. I was every 
where received with affability and hospitality; tea, 
liqueurs, dried fruits, cakes, punch, and cigars, were 
immediately placed before me ; and much interest 
seemed to be excited at finding an Englishman in 
that distant part of their empire. I was asked if 
I had been at Canton ; and on replying in the 
negative, was recommended to go there. The 


English, I was told, carried on a vast trade at that 
port; and that as I had oome so far to see such a 
vile place as Maimatchin, I could easily go and see 
Canton. I found these Chinese extremely cour* 
teous and communicative ; but they were much 
distressed when I told them that I employed a 
Chinese servant at Irkutsk. They could not un- 
derstand how one of their celestial descendants 
could think of living in the Russian empire. The 
fact was, that Captain Bikord had a Chinese ser- 
vant, who went from Canton to Kamtchatka ex- 
pressly to serve him ; he had been in London some 
time, and was a good servant, speaking various 
languages, and would very gladly have followed 
me to England. 

They have lanterns placed at regular distances, 
and lighted at a proper time; and cotton and silken 
bags, false bells, and other absurdities, hang about 
the exterior of their dwellings^ I visited their 
temple, which, notwithstanding its idolatrous pur* 
pose, has much of the Romish character about it. 
I saw no images of female saints, but numbers of 
gigantic men and horses, and the whole was 
evidently the same sort of glittering, carved, and 
gilded work, as the most tawdry Romish church 
or chapel can boast. The Chinese temples, how- 
ever, have this difference,— that real valuables are 
not to be seen; neither gold, silver, nor jewels, nor 


even the semblance of them^ being placed about 
their images. I do not know whether this is the 
case in other parts of China. 

There is no fortress or defence to Maimatchin, 
though from three to five hundred souls remain in 
the village during the spring, summer, and autumn. 
Trade continues during the whole of the year ; 
and there is no ceremony observed on either 
side on entering the Russian or Chinese villages. 
The best understanding exists, and each party 
alternately entertains the other. At this moment 
the Chinese are employed in cards, draughts, chess, 
drinking, dancing, and singing. In the month of 
February is their chief festival, being what is termed 
the White Month, or the beginning of theii: new 
year. The principal feasts last three days, that is, 
from the day before to the day after the full moon, 
and then the fair commences. The Russian chief 
also gives a feast to the chief mandarin, and the 
principal Chinese. 

In reply to a question I put to one of the mer- 
chants, I was told that the distance from Kiakhta 
to Pekin is one thousand five hundred miles ; but 
that a courier can go in ten days, although it takes 
thirty days for the merchants with their goods. I 
was informed also that it is about one thousand 
miles from Kiakhta to the frontiers of China Proper, 
and that the road is across the Mongolian, a well- 


peopled territory. The Mongoles are only so far 
depeodent upon the Chinese, as to permit them to 
pass and repass in their country unmolested, being 
paid for the hire of the horses, &c. 

For an account of the trade of Kiakhta, and the 
manner of carrying it on, and which is a mere matter 
of exchange or barter, as not the smallest credit, 
even for a moment, is given by the Chinese, although 
it is by the Russians, I may refer my readers to 
Mr. Coxe's very valuable work. The mode of 
trafficking is there accurately described, the work 
and risk still falling upon the Russians ; the latter 
sending their goods in the ^t instance, and then 
receiving their teas, &c. The chief articles of import 
into Russia are teas, cottons, nankeens, silks, and 
good satins, a considerable quantity of rhubarb, 
many articles of curiosity and ingenuity, and some 
trinkets. The exports from Russia are, in general, 
furs, i. e. foxes, sables, river and sea-otters, wild 
cats, beavers, smd millions of squirrels. The light- 
ness, warmth, durability, and cheapness of the lat- 
ter, have made them a favourite with the Chinese ; 
and it is remarkable, that the most rare and valuable 
fiurs do not fetch a good price with the Chinese, as 
they prefer the worst and most common. The best 
and most valuable are sold at Moscow and Nish- 
ney Novgorod, for the use of the Russians, Turks, 
and Persians. A large quantity of woollen cloths 


and copper money are alsQ exported ; and sach, 
npon the whoie, is the trade between Russia and 
China, that it yields a clear revenue of about seyen 
millions of roubles, or three hundred and fifty thou- 
sand pounds per annum, a sum which in Russia is 
equivalent to three millions in England. The 
exports and imports are averaged at thirty millions 
of roubles or a million and a half sterling. Last 
year, three millions of pounds of tea were imported 
into Russia ; but this year the tea, as indeed other 
trade, is far from brisk. There is an immense stock 
of fiirs in hand, and this surplus is caused by the 
war between the Greeigs and Turks. Forty sables, 
which are commonly averaged at eight hundred 
roubles, wUl now scarcely fetch three hundred and 
fifty. The Chinese know this, and are actually 
feeding upon the war alluded to. 

I returned from the Chinese town late in the 
evening, and enjoyed two days in the society, hos« 
pitality, and friendship of the accouratnoy (that 
is, the peculiarly correct) chief. The propriety 
and decorum visible in the establishment of this 
gentleman, the accomplishments of his very amiable 
lady, and the superior education of his infant family, 
are of more value, and far more interesting, than 
any thing else I had seen in Kiakhta. Among 
other instances of attentive kindness on the part of 
the chief, I may mention my having been presented 


with a curious map of the Chinese Empire, with 
Russiau notes, and which will be found, by those 
who are desirous of seeing it, in the Britbh Mu- 
seum, to whidi I presented it. Proyisions are dear, 
bread, fift^n pence for forty pounds ; meat, one 
penny a pound, and other things in proportion. 
The merchants live well, and evince an air of libe- 
rality and good faith which I have not seen, with 
people of their class, in other parts of Siberia or 
Russia ; some of them are immensely rich, having 
settled here from Moscow, Kazan, Tobolsk, Ir- 
kutsk, Wologda, Kalouga, and Nishney Novgo- 
rod. One of them, a Mr. Siberikoff, belonging to 
Irkutsk, and who has been three times elected 
mayor, has lately opened a new and splendid resi- 
dence to his friends, the bare walls of which cost 
two hundred thousand roubles. The whole ex- 
penses, including its magnificent furniture from 
Europe, will, it is said, cost him, at least, twenty 
thousand pounds, a prodigious sum for a mansion 
in Siberia. 

Having seen all that I thought interesting in and 
about Kiakhta, I quitted it upon the third day. 
My route lay along the right bank of the.Selenga, 
a rich pasture level, interspersed with Buriat vil- 
lages, whose inhabitants received me with every 
distinction and obsequiousness, in consequence of 
my Mongolian passport. At forty miles, I crossed 


the little river Jackoy, and, coastiDg it for twenty 
miles, reached a large Russian village, Clintchie, 
containing one hundred houses, and near five hun- 
dred inhabitants. The soil had, in general, been 
sandy, and there was a good deal of pine-wood on 
it. Being in an open cart, I suffered much from a 
strong cold wind, but persisted in continuing my 
route, that I might not be too late for the winter 
road from Irkutsk. In the middle of the night I 
was overturned ; but to these occurrences I had, 
of late, become so accustomed, that I scarcely 
noticed it, beyond feeling thankful for another for- 
tunate escape. The latter part of the journey was 
over a hilly and sterile country, yet pasturing many 
flocks of sheep and goats, appertaining to some 
Buriats, who are rich in this neighbourhood. Early 
in the morning, after a cold and unpleasant night, 
with the thermometer at 30"^ of frost, I reached, 
once more, and for the last time, the abode of the 
missionaries. A dram, a hearty breakfast, and a 
more hearty welcome, soon made amends for all 
my disasters. 

Being Sunday, I was the sole auditor of a long 
and extemporary sermon, from Isa. xU. 10. ** Fear 
thou not, for I am with thee." It was the first I 
had listened to for three years, and was, therefore, 
doubly acceptable. The text was remarkably ap- 
propriate, and the discourse directly adverted to 


the protectien I had received from above, daring 
my past, and yet unfinished, pilgrimage. After 
divine service, I partook of a farewell-dinner, and 
bade adieu to these worthy and zealous missiona- 
ries, regretting only that a more active and more 
useful station had not been assigned to their pre- 
sent unpretending and important occupation. 

I visited a small dock-yard, in which vessels are 
built, on an island at the junction of the Jackoy and 
Selenga, and which are employed to transport the 
merchandize from Kiakhta to Irkutsk, and down 
the Angara to the Tongouska, &c. From what I 
saw, I should term them clumsy and heavy galliots. 
I beard. ^». ,™pH„ »,d '™g™., „ .. 
rival at the town of Selenginsk, that my travelling 
companions, the post inspectors, had passed through, 
on their way to Kiakhta, without staying for an 
adieu. They knew it was Sunday, and, probably, 
feared the effects of a sermon. I took the summer 
road to Verchhey Udinsk, which is distant from the 
right bank of the river some miles : it is a hilly and 
sandy country, well wooded with pine. On reach- 
ing Verchney early in the morning, I found all 
bustle and anxiety to see their new govemor-gene- 
raL The officers appeared to me to be suspended, 
between hope and fear, and I could not help smiling 
to see their guilty consciences fully depicted in their 
faces. Being well assured that his excellency's 


arrival would take place the following day, I deter- 
mined to await it, to express my acknowledgments 
for his kindness and consideration. 

In the mean time, I found good quarters and 
excellent society at the abode of the okroujSnoy 
chief and his young bride. The governor-general 
arrived, as I had predicted, with all his numerous 
staff. His excellency's plain dealing and honest 
speaking soon put the whole city in perturbation. 
Very few compliments passed, and, I believe, his 
excellency will be, though more disliked, as long 
remembered and respected for his integrity as the 
late governor-general, Mr. Speranski; for the pre- 
sent chief, like his predecessor, has struck at the 
roots, as well as lopped the branches, of corruptioD. 
His excellency appears determined to put down 
those abuses : I fear, however, the task will prove 
difficult, unless the t^ituations of the officers are 
made more respectable than they are at present; 
for certainly, at present, they have not the means 
of Uving comfortably, or according to their rank. 

I departed for Irkutsk, and re-crossed the Baik- 
hal, where I purchased a couple of silvery seals' 
skins, or Phoca Siberica, which are numerous in the 
lakeland consequently set aside ike axiom of Pliny. 
I reached Irkutsk safely on tiie morning of the 7th 
of February, having been exactly one month absent. 
Having refreshed myself a little, I commenced pre- 


paring for my departure towards Europe, which I 
hoped to reach by a sledge-road. Society had lost 
every chann in Irkutsk ; the ladies, the military^ 
and the most respectable merchants, were either 
gone to the fair of Kiakhta, or to the hot baths. 
I took possession of my old quarters, and became, 
as it were, master of the house. Here I had the 
pleasure of receiving a long and highly compli- 
mentary letter from Sir Charles Bagot: a pleasure, 
indeed, far too great to be described. 

Upon the evening of the 10th of February snow 
fell in great quantities, and I consequently departed 
the next morning, with tears of regret at quitting 
a place where I had been so cordially and respect- 
fully entertained. If, on my return, I experience 
similar good fortune, I shaU, indeed, have cause to 
rejoice ; and, if my expenses from hence to Moscow 
be as small as to this place, I may be termed a 
most economical traveller; for, from thence to Ir- 
kutsk, a distance of about three thousand five 
hundred miles, in a direct line, it cost me only 
thirty-two roubles, or twenty-five shillings; a sum 
which also included the purchase of tobacco. 

Late in the evening I reached the glass and cloth 
manufactory belonging to the Emperor, distant 
forty miles from Irkutsk. The cloth produced 
firom this factory, is of a stout and coarse kind, and 
of a greyish colour, and is destined to the use of 


the Siberian army. The glass is, in general, of a 
greenish colour, bat both manufactories are consi- 
dered to be in a thriving condition. Its command- 
ant depends upon the private cabinet of the Empe- 
ror, and is in no respect subservient to the gover- 
nor-general of Irkutsk. I had crossed the Angara, 
with its fertile plain, and had viewed the distant 
hills to the right, with a melancholy to which I had 
not of late been accustomed ; after which, my route 
lay over a well-wooded country, with neat and 
populous villages at every ten and twelve miles, 
besides numbers, inhabited by Buriats, o£f the high 
road, at the distance of two and three miles. The 
weather was cold, but the road being very fine, we 
were not long in reaching Nishney XJdinsk, which 
we did on the morning of the 13th of February, in 

Nishney Udinsk is a large, but scattered, town, 
situated on the right bank of the Uda, which falls 
into the Yenissei. The people were mostly drunk, 
,and I was consequently detained for some time. 
The town-major, who is the progeny of a cockney 
shoemaker and a butcher's daughter, amused me 
greatly, by shewing me his affidavits and inden- 
tures, bearing the signature of Sir Richard Carr 
61yn, the then lord mayor. He is strongly 
marked with the characteristics of his cockney 
ancestry. It was at this place that the most un- 

ILLA.N.— IK0A8HB. 177 

bridled tyranny and extortion were practised about 
three years since, by the ispravnick, who was 
seized and conveyed away under a strong guard, 
by order of Mr. Speranskiy and still remains in 
prison. He was so great a simpleton as to keep 
his riches in his own dwelling, and all were conse- 
quently confiscated. Indeed, such were the abuses 
in this commissariat, that the governor-general was 
a fortnight employed in hearing grievances. In 
those times no one, not even an officer or civilian, 
could pass through the city without a Cossack ; for, 
unless a toll were paid, robbery was certaiu after- 
wards to take place, a regular band being employed 
for that purpose. Nor am I aware, nor have I any 
reason to believe^ that there is much difference be- 
tvrixt its then and its present state. 

From Udinsk I descended a difficult pass, at a 
tremendous rate. Under any other circumstances, 
I should certainly have preferred slower travelling, 
but the wretched disposition of the people recon- 
ciled me to the danger. I reached the large village 
of lUan, and the still larger village of Ingashe, 
where regularity, cleanliness, and propriety are 
more conspicuous than in any other place that I 
have ever seen. Many of these villages contain 
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred dwel- 
lings. No horse, cow, or dog, no cart, or dirt of 
any kind, is allowed to remain in the street a 

VOL. II, N . 


moment. When a vehicle stops with passengers 
or travellers, it must remain at the back of the 
dwelling, and the street being thus clear, the tra- 
velling vehicles pass through the village with a 
wonderful rapidity, without any fear of conse- 

I had now reached the frontier town of the go- 
vernment of Irkutsk, the inhabitants of which 
amount to six hundred and fifty thousand, including 
two hundred thousand in the governments of 
Yakutsk, Okotsk, and Kamtchatka. The number 
of convicts is estimated at from ten to twelve thou- 
sand; many of them are allowed to work for their 
own benefit, as is the case in most of these villages 
on the frontier line. The children of these cour 
victs become what may be termed crown peasants, 
the sins of the fathers being thus truly visited 
upon the children, unto every succeeding genera- 

The government of Irkutsk is most extensive, 
occupying a breadth, from east to west, of two 
thousand miles, and a difference of latitude equal 
to one thousand two hundred, which averages not 
more than one person to every four square miles. 
This part of the world is, however, so rapidly im- 
proving, that, although it is little more than two 
jfears and a half since I passed this road, I can 
scarcely recognize the same places. Comjnisfiariats 


have become governments, towns have taken the 
rank of cities, villages are called towns, and where 
there were no dwellings, there are now many ham- 
lets. This might hastily be attributed to the in- 
crease of crime, but this is not the cause ; it is 
owing to the transplanting of people to the vicinity 
of the new government from the sterile wilds of 
Ishim, as well as to the arrival of some convicts, or 
in the same ratio as the aborigines may be said to 

Upon entering the government of Yenisseisk, I 
directed my route to Kahskoi, situate on the left 
bank of the river Kan, the Styx of Siberia. My 
old friend the schoolmaster had changed his abode, 
a circumstance which I much regretted. My route 
thence lay over a fruitful com and pasture country, 
with a good deal of fine scenery, until I reached 
the vicinity of Krasnojarsk, when it became more 
dreary and sandy. I reached this new capital of 
a new province at midnight in very cold weather, 
and was glad to get into comfortable quarters, as 
well as to escape from the ruffian set of convicts 
who compose the inhabitants of many of the vil- 
lages, all of which are in a most disgraceful, mean, 
and slovenly condition. No spark of emulation is 
discernible in the character of the people of this 
province. This, no doubt, arises from want^of en- 
couragement ()u the part of the chiefs and visiting 

N 2 



officers ; but indeed the state of the police^ and the 
attention shown at the post-houses in the govern- 
ment of Irkutsk, make .the negligence in other 
governments much more conspicuous. 

I have heard of necessary evils, and have doubted 
such a paradox. I was, howeveri on this journey 
convinced of the fact at certain places and at cer- 
tain times. I had a good and active Cossack with 
me, whom I was very well pleased with, except on 
arriving at the villages in the Yenisseisk or Tomsk 
governments ; as, on such occasions, it was his con- 
stant practice to beat and otherwise ill-treat those 
whose business it was to provide horses, pulling 
them by the hair, ears, and nose, and this withont 
the least apparent necessity or provocation. On my 
demanding the reason of this brutal conduct, he 
told me, that if custom and inclination did not lead 
him, necessity would compel him, so to act The 
practice had the effect of enforcing the demand 
afterwards made for horses, which he was then cer- 
tain of having furnished forthwith. That, but for 
this severe exercise of authority, there would be no 
possibility of his getting over more than sixty or 
eighty miles a^day, while the. government, at such 
a season of the year, expected at least one hundred 
and eighty or two hundred. Doubting the truth 
of this extraordinary representation, I desired that, 
at the next village, he would order horses in a pe- 

OP KANSKOt. 181 

lemptory manner, but not ill-treat or abuse Ihe 
people concerned ; he did so, tendered the passport, 
and desired all haste to be made ; the elder of the 
Tillage replied the horses would arriye immediately. 
I waited half an hour, and got none. ** Where is 
the elder of the village?" — ''At the gin-shop/' said 
the Cossack, '' helping to drink out the money 
which is to be paid for the next station." The 
elder of the village then came to me with an apology, 
and returned to the gm-shop ; nor did I actually 
get horses for two hours, at the expiration of which 
time, the Cossack again had recourse to his old 
and efiTectnal mode of levy. The reader will believe 
I never again interfered further than to entreat he 
would be more lenient ; the consequence was, I 
had horses always provided in ten minutes. 

This custom of flogging the peasants in advance 
is so generally carried into execution, that they 
become more hardened and unfeeling than they 
otherwise would be ; and it is this custom which 
makes them so averse to carry the government re- 
quisitions into effect. It must proceed from the 
weak and ignorant policy of their immediate supe- 
riors ; a policy which adds greatly to the natural 
tyranny of the Cossacks. It was the strict and 
rigorous discipline kept up by the late governor of 
Irkutsk, Treskin, that enabled the traveller, and 
still enables him, to travel through that govern- 


ment speedily and safely, with the exception of the 
point at Nishney Udinsk. By proper rewards and 
punishments, these people might be recalled from 
the state of depravity and insensibility they are 
now forced into, and be made, like most of the 
inhabitants of Siberia, a rational people ; whereas 
now drunkenness, negligence, and recklessness are 
their characteristics. 

That . the peasant is thus harshly treated in 
many parts of the Russian empire, I will not deny ; 
but whatever obedience he may implicitly pay to 
his national superiors, let it not be supposed that he 
will tamely submit so to be treated by foreigners ; 
on the contrary, I have seen several instances 
of insulted pride in the peasant justly revenged. 
As a very recent instance, I may mention that an 
English gentleman, a Mr. C, travelling upon a 
commercial speculation about the central, and, 
consequently, real, Russian provinces, observed 
the Cossacks, and, in one instance, an officer, beat 
and otherwise ill-treat the postilions and people 
employed in preparing the horses. At one of the 
stations, Mr. C. considered he was not promptly 
attended to, and, sans ceremonie, he proceeded also 
to abuse and beat one of the postilions. What was 
the consequence ? The man quietly proceeded on 
with his work, and then made a formal complaint 
to the elder of the village^ a person delegated with 


magisterial authority » who called upon Mr. G. for 
an explanation, first, for what he had sti:uck the 
man? For inii.ttention. — And pray who are you ? 
An Englishman. — Of what rank ? A merchant,— 
Oh 1 oh ! says the old gentleman, as he proceeded to 
fetch the rules and regulations for the preservation 
of peace and good order in every village, a copy of 
which is kept in the post-house, as well as at the 
starista's. Mr. C. had the offended articles point- 
ed out to him, with a demand of two hundred 
and fifty roubles, ten guineas, penalty, partly to 
be given to the sufferer, and partly to the poor. 
Mr. C. demanded why the like was not acted up 
to with others offending ! The starista said, that 
officers so acting could be reported to superior 
authority, but that the public service did not allow 
their being detained for private injuries ; but, says 
the starista, if you do not choose to pay the fine, 
or if you cannot, you may empower me to proceed 
in a more summary manner, namely, to have you 
flogged with leather thongs to the number of thir- 
teen lashes. I need not say Mr. C. quickly paid 
the money, and acknowledged his error ; whether 
from fear that the leather thongs are the same as 
the knout, I know not ; but I believe this same 
Mr. C. is still in Russia, settled in a most extensive 
business, perfectly satisfied with the administration 
of the laws, which, if acted up to, especially 


protect the middliDg and lower parts of the com^ 

At Krasnoyarsk I visited a party of Jews, of 
whom there are seventy in the city, some of them 
very rich. I was snrprised at their wearing, added 
to their long beard^ a Tartar dress, which consists 
of a long silk gown, sash, and black bonnet Their 
features, customs, and conduct, are otherwise the 
same with the rest of their nation. The .price of 
provisions is much greater at Krasnojarsk than it 
was formerly, owing to the formation of the new 
government. I called on my old friends the com* 
missary and police-master; the wonderful alter- 
ations which an increase of rank had made in the 
latter of these officers, served to show me that 
human nature is every where the same. I found 
the city in its old pLe. but mnch improved i». 
new buildings, public and private ; those for the 
chancelry are beautiful in their design, and liberal 
in their execution. The city is, in general, buik 
of wood, but bricks are coming into more general 
use. The situation, both in winter and summer, 
is windy and exposed. On the opposite banks of 
the rivers Atchin and Yenissei, the country is 
beautiful and fertile during the spring, summer, 
and autumn, but not healthy. It was at this 
place that the Emperor Paul wished to form a 
Scotch colony; and if the project were followed 

YBKI86BISK. 186 

up by the present Emperor, it would doubtless 
flueceedy upon the liberal encouragement which he 
is known to give to foreigners^ generally and 

Having renewed my passport and got my sledge 
repaired, I departed with the intention of visiting 
die ancient town of Yenisseisk, on the right bank 
of the river of the same name, two hundred miles 
north of this; and thence to have cut into the 
mam road at Atchinsk. Such was, however, the 
state of the roads that it was utterly impossible. 
I had much wished to visit the manufactories 
established in that place, especially those for work- 
ing np sea-horse and mammoth teeth. A set ef 
chess-men were presented me about three years 
ago, which go into the compass of one-third of an 
inch square ; consequently, so small, that it requires 
good eyes to distinguish the pieces from the 
pawns. I had also some desire to see Yenisseisk, 
because it is one of the most antique places in 
Siberia, the old Russian style of building being 
still kept Up, in which the roofs of the houses 
project twelve and fifteen feet beyond the walls, 
and form a complete shelter. There is, besides, 
another curiosity there, which is famed all over 
Siberia. This is a massive silver candelabrum, 
suspended from the centre of the church; its 
weight is one thousand pounds, and its value 


above five thousand. The advanced state of 
spring, and the badness of the roads^ prevented 
my visitmg it, and I continued on the straight 

The road to the first station was so bad that 
we changed horses twice, nor were the following 
stages much bett^; liie first entirely without 
snoWf and die others with too much. I reached 
the Black River witii a broken sledge, the road so 
hiUy and fiiU of ruts, that, from the heavy falls we 
got, I expected to be laid up ; the concussions were 
dreadful, and I never suffered so much in iny life. 
Sometimes, while going at the rate of ten miles per 
hour, upon a smooth and level road, the vehicle 
would be pitched to a distance of six or eight, and 
over a perpendicular fall of two, feet, nearly kill- 
ing the horses with the shock. In such a state 
I reached Atchinsk, which, from a large village 
when I was here before, is now become a smaU 
town. Its local situation at the junction of. the 
Atchin and Tongouska is valuable. On reaching 
the village of Bogatova, the country becomes better 
cultivated and more picturesque. The heavy rains 
which it is subject to, do great damage, frequently 
inundating the country, as far as Kemtchduga. 
The entry into the government of Tomsk is 
equally miserable with that of Yenisseisk, nor are 
the roads any better. To add to the misery of its 


s^pearaoce I met two gangs of coavicts, about 
three hundred in number, jcmrneying to a long 
home. Foxes, however, and good sables, with 
wild goats, abound in the two governments. 

At Birricoule, the inciviHty of the landlady of 
the house in which T was quartered, called forth 
the exercise of my powers. She was determined 
to afford me no assistance or civility, even deny- 
ing me her habitation, as she expected the cap- 
tain ispravnick that day. Having arrived the 
first, and knowing that, by law, I was entitled to 
the. best quarters in the village, I did not feel in- 
clined, particularly on account of my wife, to give 
up the point, her abode being really comfortable 
and clean. I, therefore, persisted ; telling the lady, 
at the same time, that I only wanted a little milk, 
which I would pay for. This declaration had such 
an effect upon the poor woman, that she became 
as interested to serve, as she had before seemed 
inclined to annoy, me. She told me her expected 
guest would require something more substantial 
than milk, besides a twenty-five rouble note, or a 
skin of that value. The poor woman also con- 
fessed that she had paid the same sum not long 
ago, and was again prepared for the honour done 
her by this commissary. 

My route lay over a level country, boasting 
numerous villages, but all bear the Tomsk cha- 

188 TOMSK. 

racter — ^msrks of much misery* There is a coD'- 
siderable quantity of fine timber about the coun- 
try» before the city of Tomsk is approached^ 
The prospect then becomes most dreary and de- 
solate, presenting one boundless waste of brush- 
wood/covered with snow. I reached the city late 
in the evening, quite knocked up from fatigue 
and want of rest; although my wife still held on. 
To try my patience, I was kept waiting at the 
police-office two hours before I was provided with 
quarters : into the first, however, I could not be 
received, nor into a second which were pointed 
out to me ; and upon my arrival at the third, I 
found them so bad as to be hardly habitable ; per- 
haps I was getting too nice and delicate. At any 
rate, they were so bad as not to induce my staying 
a longer period than was necessary. I paid my 
respects to the acting governor, an excellent cha- 
racter, as also to Mrs. lUechefsky, wife of the 
late governor. In Tomsk, as in many other 
places, the acts of the new governor-general, (for 
Siberia has now two governors-general, the east- 
ern one commanding the governments of ToboIdL 
and Tomsk, with the cUeflainship of Omsk ; and 
the western one commanding the governments of 
Irkutsk and Yenisseisk, with the chieftainships of 
Yakutsk, Okotsk, and Kamtchatka,) have created 
great disgust; among others, may be mentioned 

TOMSK. 189 

is jDoodnct to the people workmg the brandy du- 
tilleries. The goveroor-general is General KapV 
ZfByitch of the army, a man who distinguished 
himself in the late campaigns. His severity and 
rigid principles are not likely to gain him many 
friends in Siberia; as would be divined from Us 
having actually ordered oflBcers to receive so many 
blows, if the quantity of spirits extracted from 
com were not more than doubled. Whether the 
general was right or wrong in the mode of increas- 
ing the revenue, or of making people do their 
duty, is one question; — whether the officers and 
people employed did not make a pecuniary sacrifice 
to escape such humiliation, is another; but, certain 
it is, the quantity of spirits is produced. 

It isin agitation to remove the seat of govern- 
ment from Tomsk, to a village not far distant, for 
what reason I cannot conjecture, as no seat of 
government is required to furnish more than the 
conveniences of keeping up the communication. 
Tomsk has ahready lost much of its population 
within these ten years; the district of Kolyma, 
which contains a population of one hundred and 
fifteen thousand, is now independent of it ; and 
the new government of Yenisseisk has taken firom 
it about sixty thousand; so that the patronage and 
pecuniary concerns of the governor of this pro- 
vince are greatly dimimdied. The number of 

190 TCHIEN. 

inhabitants in the city is, at present, near ten 
thousand, which will shortly be redaced, as a great 
number will quit. There are one thousand eight 
hundred houses and twelve churches in the city, 
situate at the junction of the rivers Tom and 
Ousheika, one of the most dreary and bleak si- 
tuations in the world. A great number of Mo- 
hamedan Tartars reside in the city and contiguous 
villages, who are of the same caste as those of 

From Tomsk I departed for Tobolsk, that I 
might see the new governor-general ; and, as the 
road is one I have never been over, T shall be more 
particular in tracing and describing it. The first 
forty miles were over a fine road, the borders of 
which ^ere lined with noble timber, such as birch 
and pine. There was some tolerable park-scenery, 
but thej country was generally flat. At the little 
romantid village of Tasheka I crossed the mag- 
nificent river Obe, where it was a mile wide. 
Thence my route, day and night, was continued 
over a most uninteresting low flat pasture plain, 
with here and there a few dirty villages. At 
one hundred and fifty miles I reached the vil- 
l£^e of Tchien, where I breakfasted with an old 
man, who was one of the first settlers upon the 
Barabinsky steppe, under the auspices of Catlie- 
rine. He remembered when bread was a half- 

I k. 

KAINSK. 191 

penny, and beef five pence, for thirty-six pounds ; 
whereas they now sell at five pence and thirty 
pence. Formerly, also, the people worked better, 
and not being the high road, they had not so many 

The road, as I proceeded, was crowded with 
caravans loaded with tea, silks, and furs ; and I 
reached the town of Kainsk in good time to 
breakfast. The road was good, but the country 
and villages bear the most wretched desert appear- 
ance ; ho wood of any description is to be seen on 
the left bank of the Obe. I had crossed the 
Kainka before entering Kainsk, which is a neat 
town, standing in the centre of a low brushwood 
forest. There are six hundred houses, and two 
thousand five hundred people. The three chiefs 
who command it appear to have placed it in a 
flourishing state. In the town are several handsome 
brick edifices, a well-stocked market, and clean 
streets; but there was not the least bustle or noise, 
save that of tolling a solitary bell for mass. 

From Kainsk I directed my steps towards Omsk, 
having understood that the governor-general, 
Kaptzevitch, had left Tobolsk for that place. 
The central part of the Barabinsky steppe pre- 
sents a good deal of cultivation, which increased as 
I reached the western parts of it. Horses, goats, 
sheep, and cows, appeared very abundant. The 


soil is considered so fine, that it resists the cold in 
a 'more than ordinary degree. Bears and wolves 
abound in the neighbourhood, and approach the 
villages so close, as often to alarm the people. 
Hogs, fowls, ducks, and geese are seen running 
about the villages, in all of which there are several 
farm-yards. Considering the northern situation of 
the Barabinsky steppe, the excessive rigour of its 
climate, which, forty years ago, was deemed unin- 
habitable, and the various obstacles which opposed 
agriculture, it cannot be denied that great praise is 
due both to the government and the colonists. At 
present, probably, there is less danger in traversimr 
.' 4« L, oL p«. of U» L^ empi^J; 
though the inhabitants in general do not possess so 
much of that kindness for which the Siberians are 
celebrated, most of them being schismatics from the 
Greek church, and descendants of those sent hither 
for colonization by the Empress Catherine. Their 
villages are now so numerous and well-peopled, 
that sixty and seventy dwellings are met with at 
every five or six miles. 

Having been hospitably entertained by the con»- 
missary of Kainsk, with whom I had previously 
been acquainted in Tumen, I departed for Omsk, 
and before I had proceeded ten miles on my 
journey, the Cossack left me to pass his time in a 
gin-shop, and I continued on without him ; but, by 


backliog a pair of horses to a sUght sledge, he 
succeeded in overtaking me. Terror was depicted 
in his countenance, for he was conscious of having 
rendered himself liable to severe punishment. He 
turned out a worthless drunkard, but I pardoned, 
in preference to punishing, him. The first half- 
dozen villages, which are very well built and clean, 
contain five or six hundred inhabitants each. The 
road being very fine, we were enabled to reach 
Voznesensk, ninety miles from Kainsk, in twelve 
hours. Many people are stationed on the road, 
and employed as contractors on account of govern- 
ment, to buy up the next year's com, which begins 
already to get dear, owing to the demands for the 
support of the garrison of Omsk and the people of 
Tobolsk. There were also on the road several 
persons, bound to the new government of Yenis- 
seisk, from the wilds of Ishim. They are prin- 
cipally Poles, and, on account of the government 
o^ering lands free of taxes for twenty years, are 
removing to more fertile places. 

I turned off from the Barabinsky steppe previous 
to my reaching Tara, and took the direct route to 
Omsk ; a route which I found it difficult to traverse, 
being so narrow, that the horses were obliged to 
go, as it is called in this country, ** goose-fashion," 
one after another. The sledge I had was also 

VOL. II. o 


too broad for the road, and frequently threatened 
to upset, though this could do us little injury, 
the depth of the snow being such, that half-a- 
dozen horses could not have removed the vehicle 
from such a situation. The point where the road 
branches off is also the line of demarcation between 
the governments of Tobolsk and Tomsk, and is 
formed by the large and neat village of Yalanka, 
which contains one thousand five hundred in- 
habitants. I felt extremely gratified at reaching 
the government of Tobolsk, which appeared to me, 
even on the frontier line, to be inhabited by a more 
civilized and generous race than that of its eastern 
neighbour. The lands were certainly in a better 
condition, being stoutly and neatly fenced in^ at 
least along my route, which was on the right bank 
of the Om. The only picturesque spot, however, 
on the road to Omsk was at the village of Taval- 
ganka. Here I halted for some time at the abode 
of an old man, who maintains a couple of Kirguise, 
if possible', in a more miserable state than my fancy 
had. before painted them; for here they were in a 
frost of SS"", worse than half-naked, yet in that state 
compelled to work hard for their bread. I reached 
Omsk on the third day, and put up at my old 
quarters. I 

In addition to what I have before said of the 


Kirgaise and Calmacks, the fonner may be desig- 
nated as a half Mongolian and half Tartar breed, 
while the latter are pure Mongoles ; their respect- 
ive characters do not so much vary, for, in their 
laziness, filth, and abject state, they are indeed as 
one people. 

o 2 


Omsk— Tou-Kalan— Ishim — Tobolsk — Kamishloff — Mr. 
Major's establishment — Ekatberinebourg — Billimbay- 
Zavod — Bissertskaya Krepost — Koungour — Perm — 
Okbansk— Kiimess-selti — Malmish — Kazan — ^Tcheboksari 
— ^Vassil — Nishney Novgorod — Bogorodskoye — Paulo vo» 
— Vladimir — Moscow — Klinn — ^Tver — Toijock — ^Vishney 
Volotehock — Novgorod — St. Petersburg. 

My first duty was to wait upon his excellency 
the governor-general Kaptzevitch, to whom I had 
the pleasure of being known in Kazan. I was re- 
ceived as usual, and every attention and kindness 
were renewed to me by my old companions. My 
passports were also renewed, a public order was 
given for every legal assistance to be rendered me, 
and I again prepared to start. Omsk appeared, 
like most places in Siberia, to have undergone a 
considerable change; for the streets are kept clean, 
the gaps are all filled up with new houses, public 
buildings have been erected for many of the chief 
officers, a cloth manufactory has been established, 
and is already at work, and the lame, blind, deaf, 
and dumb, are employed in it ; the streets are no 
longer traversed by the begging poor, and a more 

6msk. 197 

military air pervades the town than formerly ; more 
of real justice is administered along the whole line 
of demarcation^ and, consequently, more general 
satisfaction and traDqniUity prevaU. 

I attended an examination of the young Cossacks, 
three hundred and fifty in number, and, consider- 
ing their ages, thought them very well advanced 
in reading, writing, and arithmetic ; the senior 
classes have also made considerable progress in 
drawing, fortification, algebra, and mathematics ; 
and one, a distinct class, in the art of surveying, 
with the view of being employed to survey the 
whole of Siberia. They are well clothed, fed, and 
lodged, at the expense of the Emperor ; as are also 
the sons of the soldiers of Siberia, of whom there 
are one thousand in the Lancasterian school, which 
system is still laudably persevered in, and with 
complete success. Omsk has of late been erected 
into a vice-government, and consequently a chancery 
court, and trade, will be established there, inde- 
pendently of Tobolsk. 

After two days' stay, I departed from Omsk ; 
previous to which, I encountered some difficulty 
ere I could be permitted to bid an adieu to the 
governor-general. It would seem that the swagger- 
ings of jacks in office, such as A.D.C.'s, secre- 
taries, pages, and the like, have found their way 
from civilized Europe to barbarous Asia, as they 



are termed. I called upon his excellency, and was 
told by one of these contemptible fellows, that if I 
made my conge to him, it were the same thing. I 
told him I thought otherwise; when I was given- to 
understand, that he could not inform the governor- 
general of my being in waiting, unless I told him, 
the servant, for it is the same thing, what I had to 
say to his excellency. Still I persevered, and 
merely remarked, that if I could not «p«ait, at least 
I could write — of course, I was instantly admitted, 
and he reprimanded, instead of being discharged as 
any other servant. I mention the circumstance as 
one to prove that Siberia is also, like Europe, ad- 
vancing backwards in the score o^ humanity and 
civility. Quitting this subject, which occupied my 
thoughts for some time, I soon reached Tou-Kalan, 
a place which I well remembered, as being that 
where I lost my passports and papers ; this vill^e 
has also risen to the rank of a town. Thence my 
route lay towards Ishim, one hundred miles from 
Omsk. Upon the road I again had a difference on 
a point of etiquette with a young officer who was 
going thither. The road was so narrow, and both 
our sledges so broad, that it was impossible to pass 
without one of them being upset into the snow. 
Presuming on his rank as an officer, he ordered my 
Cossack and driver to pull up out of the path and 
let him pass. My Cossack, though told that he 

ISHIM. 199 

was an officer, refused to obey until he knew his 
rank ; and finding that he was a lieutenant, and con- 
sequently only noble, desired him to make way for 
most noble. The young gentleinan, being pressed 
for time, and rather headstrong, drove on as near 
the edge of the road as possible, and his sledge 
coming in contact with mine, was most completely 
tamed off the road into the snow. His situation 
was truly laughable, as he was obliged either to 
unload it, or remain until the melting of the snow 
would allow his proceeding. I wished him a plea- 
sant journey, and resumed mine. 

The road to Ishim was in a bad state, the coun- 
try very dreary, yet there is some fine wood to be 
seen. It was now Lent, and I could get little to 
eat but salt fish. This was a circumstance I had 
not calcqlated on, but there was no remedy nearer 
than Tobolsk. I supped at a regular eating-house, 
where money is demanded, being, I think, the third 
instance of such an occurrence in Siberia. The 
landlady had that day given her daughter in mar- 
riage to a young farmer, and had also benefited her 
son, by ^ving him a wife at the same time. It was 
ten o'clock when I arrived, and though the custom 
of Siberia is to turn out of the best room and make 
place for a visitor, yet I was unwilling to allow of 
this, and supped in the kitchen, which was deci- 
dedly the best part of the house ; for the principal 

200 ISHIM. 

room, where the new-married couples, their fatiiet 
and mother, and three younger children, iu all nine 
people, slept, was, from the warmth and horrid 
smell, scarcely possible to be borne. I asked the 
old lady how she could think of celebrating nuptials 
at such a period of the year, it being Lent ; her 
answer was, I do not recollect. 

There is some tolerable park-scenery north of 
Ishim, which, in my idea, was much improved by 
the numerous windmills at work. They are the 
first I have seen in Siberia, and extend along the 
road from Omsk to Tobolsk. The peasants are 
here very industrious and economical, but the lands 
are sterile, and consequently produce but little 
bread, which is sold at ten pence the forty pounds, 
while meat, of which there is a great abundance, 
from the excellence of the pastures, is only thirty 
pence the forty pounds. The people are, however, 
so really Russian, that they cannot do without 
bread, cost what it will. Many of them are, in 
consequence, removing to the new government of 
Yenisseisk. I passed through several Tartar vil- 
lages, willingly partaking of their homely fare, 
though more for the comfort of a blazing fire, which 
is always burning on their hearths. I treated the 
wives with tea, who, however, respect the presence, 
not only of their husbands, but of any other male, 
too much; to partake of it without their previous 


eoDsent. These Tartars are a most obliging and 
hospitable race, who cheerfully obey the commands 
of the government, and hardly ever go beyond the 
village which borders on their own. They are 
become excellent agriculturists, and the women 
employ themselves in weaving a strong sort of car- 
peting, which they convert to counterpanes, blan- 
kets, and bed-carpets. .Their dwellings are clean 
and neat, not unlike a common guard-room ; they 
have no chairs or stools, and live principally upon 
horse flesh, and are all Mohamedans of the Kazan 
tribe. Upon reaching the environs of Tobolsk, 
vfhat with hard work and worse roads, we lost a 
horse, which, by law, I was obliged to pay for, as 
it was the shaft horse ; the sum was twenty-five 
roubles, or one guinea. As I neared the city, 
I observed my Cossack constantly drunk, and it 
turned out that he had sold all my copper cooking 
utensils, the loss of which I had not discovered in 
time, as we could get nothing upon the road to cook. 
Two more gangs of convicts were passed before I 
entered Tobolsk, which was late in the evening, 
when I was instantly provided with as good quarters 
as I could desire. The cold was so intense that 
the Cossack, who had fallen asleep from liquor, 
was severely frost-bitten. 

Tobolsk has undergone little or no change since 
I left it, unless it be in its governor ; and a similar 


change has taken place within one year, in every 
government and province, except Okotsk. I passed 
three pleasant days with my friend Mr. Gredens- 
trom, the same who travelled across the Icy Sea. I 
also renewed acquaintances with old fnends; and, 
except that the society is less pleasing and more 
reserved, I observed little difference. The present 
governor and governor-general are nnmarried men, 
consequently have little inducement to have females 
at their houses. A certain air of pride and severity 
also prevents so good an understanding as ought to 
subsist, and which, under the auspices of the late 
governor, did subsist, in this city. 

Tobolsk is a more regular and compact built 
place than Irkutsk; it contains one thousand eight 
hundred and seventy houses, eight thousand males, 
and ten thousand females, besides the military and 
Cossacks, and is consequently larger than Irkutsk. 
It boasted also the presence of a very young and 
pretty Englishwoman, in the person of a Miss 
Norman, who is going to educate the children of 
the governor of Krasnojarsk; her accomplishments 
and amiableness duly fit her for the task, but her 
beauty will much expose her where she is going ; 
so that she must shortly either marry well, or return 
to her family . 

I quitted the city of Tobolsk escorted by a dozen 
friends, who, with bottles of champaigne, accom- 


panied me a few miles, when I parted with them, 
and, following the great road, reached Tamen the 
next day, one hundred and seventy miles. It is a 
flourishing and well-built town on the Toura, and 
carries on considerable trade by water. I quitted 
it for the last station in the government of Tobolsk, 
and, with a grateful heart, bade adieu to Siberia, 
which commences at Tumen : Ekatherinebourg is 
dependent upon the government of Perm, although 
actually in Siberia, if the Ural Mountains divide 
Europe from Asia. 

The road thence was crowded with vehicles of all 
descriptions, and there was an air of cheerfulness 
on the countenances of the peasants, which I had 
not seen for some time; they were busy in getting 
in hay and straw. The villages are also better 
peopled, and occur at every three and four miles ; 
indeed every thing tells me I am leaving the wide- 
spread and desolate regions of northern Tartary, 
for the populous, civilized, and industrious ones of 
northern Europe. Yet I did not feel elated at 
leaving a place where I had been happier than in 
any other part of the world. Travelling all night, 
I reached Kamishloff, a considerable town, contain- 
ing four hundred houses and fifteen hundred people. 
There are many new brick buildings, and much im- 
provement has taken place, in consequence of the 
active exertions of the town-major, who had formerly 



treated me kindly. To Ekatherinebourg are eighty 
miles, the last twenty of which are barely passable^ 
from the dreadful state of the roads. Never was I 
more truly thankful that I was able to exercise my 
pedestrian powers, than on the present occasion ; 
but what to do with my wife was a difficult and 
serious question. She was, however, compelled to 
walk, to avoid greater suffering. The roads are full 
of cross ruts four and five feet deep, and the fall of 
the vehicle in them was such, as made it impossible 
to remain in it ; and from the concussions I received, 
I felt seriously alarmed, not only at my own state, 
but for that of my better half. It is the approach- 
ing fair of Irbit that renders the road so bad, owing 
to the many thousands of heavy laden vehicles 
passing to and fro, and which, occasionally halting, 
sink into the snow, and thus make the road full of 
ruts. By dint of labour and patience, we reached 
fourteen miles in twelve hours, halting at the hos- 
pitable abode of Mr. Major, which we reached at 
midnight. A good supper and hearty welcome 
were in attendance, and I then got what I more 
wanted, a sound sleep. 

I staid two days with thb gentleman, who is an 
Englishman, brought up in the Birmingham trade ; 
and who, liad he possessed the least economy, must 
have saved a large fortune, as the numerous good 
employments he has held under the crown, as well 


as under the most wealthy individuals, sufficiently 
prove. He has an excellent heart, with a specu- 
lative and inventive genius. At present he is en- 
gaged in the direction of the salt-works of the 
Countess Strogonoff. New steam-engines are to be 
erected by him, and he is to receive thirty thousand 
roubles per annum, besides a per centage upon the 
saving effected by the adoption of steam ; he is also 
employed in completing a machine which he has 
invented for the more easy and better washing of 
the gold sands, and which his estate is said to abound 
with. He showed me, however, as a sample, all 
the gold he had collected, and which is certainly 
not worth seven shillings. His estate is sandy, yet 
produces some extremely fine pastures and large 
woods ; it is of several square miles, and was given 
him in perpetuity by the Emperor. Mr. Major has 
also receivedfrom the same monarch, diamond rings, 
orders, crosses, and pensions, too numerous to 
mention. The employment of steam in the working 
of the mines near Ekatherinebourg, is owing to the 
ingenuity of Mr. Major, who has also established on 
his own premises a manufactory of knives, forks, 
scissors, and cutlery of all descriptions. Should he 
succeed in getting a Siberian market, and should 
he be able to produce articles of worth, which, 
however, I much question, he will no doubt realize 
a large fortune in his old age. I have brought a 


fonr-bladed penknife to England, which is sold at 
nine-pence, or seven shillings and six-pence the 
dozen. It lasted well to mend one pen, and since 
then must be ground or set, to enable it to cut a 

second. I might have said to Mr. Major and others — 

So many irons in the fire you hold. 

That none of them, methinks, will turn to gold. 

I left his amiable and hospitable family, and pro- 
ceeded on to the city of Ekatherinebourg, which I 
reached in the morning. I waited upon the new 
chief, who has been here two years ; he is well spoken 
of, as having the good of the service much at heart, 
although his manners are eccentric, and he is no 
friend to society, He was several times in England, 
and is, no doubt, a man of talents. He has 
increased the quantity of gold, produced from the 
washing of sand, from six hundred to two thousand 
pounds weight, which is equal to an increase of the 
revenue of Ekatherinebourg of near one million 
and a half of roubles. There have lately been some 
valuable gold mines discovered on the eastern and 
western ranges of the Ural mountains ; the richest 
specimens are found on the east, and those in the 
lands of a Mr. Yakovleff are the best ; and that 
gentleman, whose liberal and magnificent establish- 
ments I have before noticed, has entered into a 
contract to supply the Mint with two thousand 
pounds weight of gold p^r annum, at a certain 


price, for a certain number of years. This is indeed 
a serious undertaking, but I doubt not it will be 
made good. Government are also about to com- 
mence working some newly discovered gold mines ; 
and, it is said, a fresh assistance of six thousand 
workmen is to be sent from the college of mines at 
St. Petersburg ; indeed, such are the inexhaustible 
riches of their mountains, that hundreds of thou- 
sands of people could be employed, and yet centuries 
would elapse ere they procured any great proportion 
of the hidden treasures, which are daily becoming 
more apparent, and which may ultimately vie with 
the mines of South America in the precious me- 
tals, and surpass them in the variety and beauty 
of their mineTalogicalprodactions. 

Ekatherinebourg has considerably improved, but 
society has much fallen off, nothing but the low plod- 
ding Germans being left. It is, however, a flourish- 
ing and improving place, and will doubtless, ere 
long, be a most important one. I again visited the 
establishment of Mr. Yakovleff, and found the 
building increased by a handsome church, a large 
and well-regulated hospital, besides a school where 
the director's children, as well as those of all the 
peasants, are brought up. Priests, doctors, and 
schoolmasters, are severally provided for at the 
expense of the owner, and I have never seen a 
place where philanthropy and good sense were more 


predominant, and where more general satisfactioti 
beamed on the countenances of people termed 
slaves, than among the peasants of Mr. YakovlefiT. 
Who will, after this, affirm that Siberia is only the 
abode of vice, misery, and ignorance ? 

I qaitted Ekatherinebourg at midnight, and 
reached, early in the morning, BUIimbay Zavod. 
near forty miles ; the country was hilly. At break 
of day, I was on the highest peak of the Ural 
mountain pass, and could not help stopping to 
take a last view of Asia, the forced residence of 
many dear and valued friends, as also the abode of 
others whom I much esteem. Though it is, gene- 
rally speaking, the land of the exile, it is rather the 
land of the unfortunate than of the criminal. It 
is* the want of education, which, begetting a loose- 
ness of morals, plunges these unfortunates into 
error. The thinness of population in Siberia, is a 
ready reason to account for the facility with which 
a person is exiled. Of real criminals there are 
not so many as is imagined, as, by the report of 
Nertchinsk, it appears that but two thousand five 
hundred criminals are employed in the mines. It 
is not every man who is sent to Botany Bay 
that ought to be termed a criminal; nor every 
one who is exiled to Siberia. It may be safely 
said, that all the most hardened criminals who 
are banished for life are at Nertchinsk and 


Okotsk ; at least there are very few exceptions, 
and I believe their whole number does not exceed 
three thousand, while the number of exiles sent for 
a limited period annually amounts to at least one 
half that number. As to the education and moral 
habits of the. natives of Siberia, they are certainly 
equal, if not superior, in these respects, to the 
European Russians. They have not the same in- 
citement, nor the same means of committing 
crimes. The whole population does not exceed 
two millions and a half, about one half of which are 
aborigines, scattered over a tract of country which 
gives to each person three square miles. Provi- 
sions and clothing are cheap, taxes are not known, 
the climate is healthy — and what can man more 
desire? I looked again to the east, and bade 
adieu, thankful for the many marks of esteem and 
kindness I had received from the hands of its hos- 
pitable people. 

Descending the western branch of the Ural 
Mountains, I soon found myself again in Europe ; 
the land of malt, the fire-side home, again had 
charms for the traveller. The sensations I expe- 
rienced upon quitting the most favoured quarter 
of the globe, were nothing when compared to the 
present. Then I thought I was going only to the 
abode of misery, vice, and cruelty, while now I 
knew I had come from that of humanity, hospitality, 

VOL. II. p 


and kindness. I looked back to the hills, which 
are, as it were, the barrier between virtue and 
vice, but felt, in spite of it, a desire to return and 
end my days. And so strong is still that desire, 
that I should not hesitate to bid adieu to politics, 
war, and other refined pursuits, to enjoy in central 
Siberia those comforts which may be had without 
fear of foreign or domestic disturbance. 

In the evening of my entry into Europe, I 
reached the village of Bissertskaya Krepost, 
situate on the Bissert stream. The road was bad, 
and over a hilly country ; nor was my dissatisfac- 
tion at all allayed by the conduct of the Permians. 
InhospitaUty, incivility, and general distrust every 
where prevailed, and influenced the conduct of the 
inhabitants ; even the last copeck is insisted upon 
in payment for the horses, before they are per- 
mitted to commence the journey ; a circumstance 
which, in many cases, occasions much inconvenience 
and loss of time. In Siberia the traveller may pay 
forward or backward three or four stations, and 
every sort of accommodation is given. 

Immediately upon leaving Siberia, I had a most 
severe attack of rheumatism, or pains arising from 
the joltings I had formerly got ; probably, also, 
the change of air did not agree with me, until I 
had again become accustomed to it. I, however, 
persevered in the journey, and, passing a gang of 


K0UN60UR. 211 

gypsies with their usual eccentricities^ and a larger 
gang of convicts, I reached Konngour. The villages 
upon the road are numerous and well-peopled. 
Many iron and salt-works, as well as distilleries, 
are to be seen in all directions, and an active and 
industrious spirit every where prevails. Noble 
timber too is in great abundance, enlivening the 
prospect) among which the lofty oak is the most 
conspicuous. At Koungour a sort of hotel and 
billiard-rooms have been established in my absence, 
and appeared to be doing well. 

The picturesque situation of Koungour cannot 
fail to please, commanding a fine view of the sur- 
rounding well-cultivated, and better wooded and 
watered, country. There are one thousand one 
hundred dwellings and four thousand two hundred 
inhabitants in it ; half-a-dozen churches and some 
stone edifices give it a respectable appearance, yet 
as to thrift it is but a sorry place, although the 
honey it produces is considered as very superior 
and abundant. Formerly it was the. capital of a 
province, and, previous to that period, a favourite 
place of the Tartars. The caves where they 
resided are still shown in the light of useAil cu- 
rk>sities, inasmuch as they are converted into ice- 
cellars and store-houses. 

From Koungour to Perm are sixty miles, of at 
present most execrable, but, during the summer, 

p 2 

212 PERM. 

of the most beantiful road. I reached the city at 
midnight, exceedingly worn out. The police, 
mistaking me for a horse, gave me a stable for a 
lodging ; I was, however, satisfied with any place 
in my weak state, and with violent rheumatic pains. 
Perm, with two thousand houses and nme thou- 
sand inhabitants, is going on in an improving and 
handsome style of building. It b in short a flou- 
rishing place, and will in time become of great im- 
portance, and one of the most valuable governments 
in European Russia. It stands on the xight bank 
of the Kama, in a fertile and well-wooded country. 
I procured from the governor a fresh passport, 
and was almost obliged to listen to his absurd and 
ill-timed questions regarding my wife — questions 
which evidently showed his utter ignorance of hb 
own country. Perhaps he suspected my wife was 
a Tartar, a Mongole, or some other sort of Pagan. 
He asked me of what country she was. I said, 
** Of Kamtchatka." *' Is she a Kamtchatdale ?" 
' ' As much as you are a Russian." ' ' Who and what 
is her father?" "He serves." " What b his rank?" 
** A priest." (A laugh, for he really does serve the 
church.) '* But is he a Russian or Kamtchatdale 
priest?" " As it may please the natives of either 
country to attend the service." ** Does he speak 
the Russian language?" '' He does." " But is 
he a Russian or Kamtchatdale ?" ''Both." ''How 

PERM. 213 

can that be ?" " In the same manner that you are 
a livonian and a Russian." '' Is he a white man ?" 
** In appearance^ but cannot answer for any few 
shades by which he maybe removed from a Tartar 
or other tribe." ^' In what language does he 
read the divine service?" *' In the Russian." 
'' Oh, then he is of the Greek Church, and a 
Russian ?" " Of course." ** And your wife, 
where was she brought up?" *' In Kamtchatka." 
" What has been her education?" '* To respect 
everybody.'' "Well, I give you joy," said this 
governor, '' but, I confess, I would rather you go 
to Kamtchatka for a wife than I." I told his 
excellency that '* I thought it better to have such 
a wife as mine, who would go where I chose, 
and would consider it her greatest delight to do so, 
than such as his, who would neither accompany 
nor remain with him, although in her own country." 
I need not say the conversation was abruptly dis- 
continued, not a word being said, but merely adieu. 
This is the only instance, except one, that ever 
occurred to me in the Russian empire of being 
personally insulted, and, to the credit of Russia, I 
should add, this governor is a German : the other 
was at Kazan, and regarded only the conduct of 
some young ladies, who, when at a ball, asked my 
wife who was her father, how many peasants he 
had, &c. I told them that I should begin also to 


interrogate them respecting their fathers, whether 
they gambled ? and the consequence was, no more 
of those childish questions were again put by the 
young ladies; who were probably induced by a 
spirit of curiosity and vanity, so congenial to young 
minds, to make such inquiries ; while, in the other 
. instance, namely, that of the governor, I could 
only impute it to a want of delicacy, arising from 

I had little inducement to remain longer in 
Perm than was necessary, but I could not, from 
my weak state, depart before the noon of the se- 
cond day of my arrival, during the whole of which 
time, my wife and I continued the inhabitants of the 
stable — but such a fact did not in the least discom- 
pose me. I felt thankful I was so well off, and 
probably enjoyed it from other motives. Having 
departed, I soon reached the neat little town Ok- 
hansk, on the left bank of the Kama, upon which 
my route had lain. It has much the appearance 
of a fishing-place, from the number of vessels, 
of from fifty or sixty tons to as many pounds, 
with which it is crowded. Snow fell very heavily, 
and my postilion, whom I had procured at Tobolsk, 
suffered much from the melting of the snow, fol- 
lowed by a hard frost. I proposed an extra sledge 
for the night to relieve him, but such is the eti- 
quette, that the postmaster would not give extra 

KAZAN. 215 

horses, either for love or money— so much for the 
government of Perm, and which I here quitted for 
that of Kazan, over desperate roads, with a more 
desperate increase of rheumatic pains. Yet I was 
content to persist in moving forward, in conse- 
quence of the attention of all classes of people to my 
Wants. In the early part of the evening, I reached 
the village of Kikness-selti, in the government of 
Yiatka, having come through a well-peopled and 
well-cultivated country. At noon on the following 
day I reached Malmish, one hundred miles. The 
road was better, the villages more numerous, and 
all having a principal residence belonging to the 
lords of the lands, which I considered the first 
good visible sign of my having reached European 

Malmish is a small neat town, with a growling 
post-master, in spite of whom, ill as I was, I con- 
tinued my route, and reached Kazan the next 
morning at seven o'clock. The last two stages I 
was obliged to go upon an open sledge, as I could 
no longer endure the heavy falls of my own ; and 
so ill was I, that I considered the palpitation of 
my heart as a short prelude to dissolution. It 
was fortunate my journey by the winter road 
was to end at Kazan. I could not have gone far- 
ther, and should therefore have been compelled to 
have staid two or three months in a village, unpro- 

216 KAZAN. 

Tided with necessaries, much less with comforts. 
It was not, however, upon my immediate arrival 
at Kazan that my difficulties were to cease ; I was 
kept at the police-office for two hours, awaiting the 
arrival of the police-master. As he had not at 
that time arrived, the officer in waiting was kind 
enough to order me to comfortable quarters, which, 
when I had reached, I was not allowed to enter, 
as the police-master sent a Cossack to say he had 
better quarters for me in a more convenient part 
of the city. I returned to the police-office, and 
was then directed to quarters already occnpied. I 
again returned to the police-office, and was ulti- 
mately, as in Perm, sent to a stable. Even that 
was a happy situation for me in the state in which 
I was. I managed to call upon a governor, whose 
functions had ceased, and represented the case, 
which he, from prudence upon his own account, 
could not interfere in ; although he is a worthy 
man, and had shown me many marks of attention 
upon my outward journey. 

I dined with this governor the next day, and, 
at his house, met Mr. Yeremeoff, whose wife was 
the governor's niece, and had become both wife 
and mother in my absence. I drank tea with her, 
when Mrs. Cochrane was taken so alarmingly ill, 
that she could not be removed. Mr. and Mrs. 
Yeremeoff kindly and good-heartedly insisted upon 

KAZAN. 217 

our removal from the stable to their elegant man* 
sion, the resort of the first society of Kazan ; the 
owner being a pattern of liberality and honest 
sentiments, his lady a woman as accomplished and 
elegant in her manners, as she is virtaous and 
humane in her heart. For twenty-three days was 
my wife confined to her room^ and for more than 
that time I suffered a species of torturing pain 
in the heart and left side, which only left me 
from lapse of time. The names of Paul and 
liuboff Yeremeoff will ever be engraven on both 
our hearts. 

It was the inattention and disrespect of the 
police of Kazan, now dependent only upon their 
own whims, and that of the governor-general, 
which procured me such a comfortable residence. 
The police, at the best periods, was very bad, 
owing to the difference which generally subsists 
between the lords, or landholders, and the go- 
vernors. Thus Kazan is considered as one of the 
most difficult places to manage in the Russian 
empire; from what other cause I know not. 
The nobles still retain their ancient Asiatic pride, 
in spite of their poverty ; nor did they appear to 
me to have profited so much in general knowledge 
as might have been expected, considering there 
is a university. I was cei^tainly quartered in the 
house of the most liberal and enlightened of them, 

218 KAZAN. 

desceaded from an aaoient Russian family » who 
liad previonsly served in the army, had travelled^ 
and understood several languages. I called also 
upon the officiating govemor*general» a senator of 
Moscow, and a director of the College of Mines, 
sent here to redress and reform, and make much 
ado about nothing. I saw him but once, a plodding 
tradesman. His private character, much less his 
public, I know no more of, than that he did his 
best to render valid Addison's remark, that man and 
dog are the only two animals which have not changed 
natures, they being equally inveterate towards 
their felhw-creatures in distress. To say the least 
of his excellency, I think him the worst, probably 
Ihe most eccentric, sample of a Russian that I 
have seen; neither ambition, norpersonal behaviour, 
nor ' general knowledge, marking his character ; 
probably his excellency's scientific studies dis- 
qualify him from the exercise of the more amiable 
qualities ; be this as it may, he is not the first 
instance I have met of a scientific man forgetting 
the gentleman and man of feeling. 

Thus arrived at Kazan, it was necessary to 
remain until the Volga should become passable. 
The ice had broken up, and was rushing, with a 
tremendous roar, towards the Caspian Sea. All 
around the city was, as it may be termed, a uni- 
versal deluge ; the southern hills and the city 

KAZAN. 219 

alone appearing above water. Boats might be 
seen passing to and from different parts of the 
town ; while, with others, no communication what- 
ever could be held, from the depth of the mud in 
the streets, or the velocity of the two canals 
which run through it. The country around is 
picturesque at this season of the year. May Ist 
(13th). The southern hills in particular have a 
fine effect. The Volga has now assumed a most 
gigantic size, and appeared to threaten a general 

The insalubrity of Kazan has been already 
noticed ; it has been, not inaptly, compared to an 
Italian city, healthy only in wet and dirty, and 
unhealthy in hot and dry weather ; but Kazan is 
also unhealthy during the severe frosts. My time 
was variously occupied, as I enjoyed the frienH- 
ship and society of the best classes of the inhabit- 
ants, and never felt more at home. I was under 
many obligations to the vice-governor, nay, to 
most of the inhabitants of this interesting spot; 
but I received not the smallest mark of condescen- 
sion from the governor-general, or rather senator, 
whose name is Soimonoff, and who has since been 
employed in surveying and examining the newly 
discovered gold mines at Ekatherinebourg, in com- 
pany with my learned and highly valued friend. 
Doctor and Professor Fuchs. The latter is, I be- 

220 KAZAN. 

lieve, about to publish a history of Kazan, a task 
for which his long residence and knowledge of the 
Tartar language especiaUy qualify him. Many 
pieces of his have afaready found their way into 
the literary gazettes of St. Petersburg; among 
others, the description of the four annual feasts of 
the Tartars of Kazan, and a delineation of their 
manners, customs, origin, &c. These four feasts 
are divided between national and ecclesiastieal. 
The first national is called saban, the plough, and 
is held in the spring ; consisting of horsing, racing, 
boxing, and wrestling. The other national feast 
is called gin, and is consecrated to the period 
when lovers are first shown to each other. The 
first ecclesiastical feast is called ramasah, while 
the other is called kurban, — ^the amusements of 
the latter three are the same as the first. The 
Professor has also given to the world many useful 
hints upon the coins and medals of Kazan, of 
which he himself possesses a valuable and rare 
collection, besides some Tartar manuscripts. His 
situation, as one of the professors of the uni- 
versity, gives him a great advantage, and it is to 
be hoped he will do much to solve the doubtful 
and intricate history of the towns of Kazan and 

The following concise matter is translated from 
a short history which that learned gentleman pub- 


KAZAN. 221 

]ished in Kazan last year, and, as it throws some 
light upon the subject, I readily g^ve it as I 
received it. 

** The Mordva and Tcheremiesie lived, in an- 
cient times^ in the deserts, situated near the central 
parts of the river Volga, whence, dispersing them- 
selves along the rivers Oka and Kama, which fall 
into the Volga, they soon rendered themselves, by 
their inroads, formidable to the Sclavonians and 
Polovzians. Murom, in the time of Rurick, or in 
the ninth century, served as a fortress to check their 
inroads. History has, however, preserved so very 
little information respecting the wars carried on by 
these nations against the Sclavonians, prior to the 
year 1088, that I shall pass over the intermediate 
two centuries. 

** At that period, the Tcheremiesie and Mordva, 
known at that time by the common appellation of 
Bulgarians, seized and retained possession of the 
fortress of Murom; and, in 1183, they committed 
further depredations in its vicinity, as likewise in 
the territory of Kazan ; and, in 1218, Joustong 
was conquered. These were the first inroads, and 
which the Grand Dukes of Russia were unable to 
repulse until the year 1219, when the Grand Duke 
Gregory Vcevolodovich marched with an army and 
compelled the intimidated Bulgarians to sue for 
peace, which was accordingly granted under cer- 

-^ *« - >-- 

232 KAZAN. 

tain stipulations. The peace did not last long, for, 
in 1218, the same grand duke was engaged in a war 
with the Mordva, and, in 1232, he was again suc- 
cessful in an expedition he undertook against them. 

** The Russian chronicles mention several an- 
cient cities built by the Tcheremiesie and Mordva; 
thus Brachimoff (which should not be confounded 
with a city of the same name belonging to the 
Bulgarians,) was abready a large and celebrated 
city in 1164, and stood near the upper part of 
the Kama, but was demolished so early as 1220. 
The next city of importance was Tuchtchin, 
which, according to Nestor's account, was situate 
on the left bank of the Volga ; the other consi- 
derable places named in the Russian history were, 
Tchelmat, Sabakoul, Ashlie, Djourkotin, and 
Kerminchouk, all of which were in existence in 
1S96 ; while the city of Bulgaria is, for the first 
time, to be read of in 13G7, and no farther notice 
of it is taken after 1396, or it reigned but twenty- 
nine years. 

*' The Bulgarians, like the Mordva, became 
subject to the Mongolian conquerors, the latter so 
early as 1239 ; and it would seem that henceforth 
uninterrupted tranquillity reigned for 120 years, 
caused probably by the protection which was 
afforded to the weak by the khans of the Golden 
Horde ; at least no mention is made of a war until 

KAZAN, 223 

the year 1963, when the Great Horde had become 
so weakened by internal dissensions, as to hold ont 
prospects of success to the piratical excursions of 
the NoYgorodians, who made their appearance upon 
the banks of the Volga and Kama about that time, 
and, in short, continued to commit every devastation 
and ravage possible upon the Bulgarian cities. In 
1880, Touktamish reunited the hordes, and recover- 
ed the lost possessions. 

'* In 1390, the captures of Viatka and Djouktan 
followed ; although, in succession, as also with that 
of Kazan, they fell into the hands of the pirates 
of Novgorod. It is this Touktamish, khan of the 
Golden Hordes, who first brings us acquainted with 
Kazan ; nor are there any prior legends or tradi- 
tions from which any conclusions can be drawn re- 
specting it. A few tomb-stones, dispersed here and 
there in Upper Kazan, bear a most ancient date ; 
but it is a very remarkable circumstance in the his- 
tory of this part of the world, that of the many 
monuments found, none of them mention any thing 
concerning Kazan. The Tartar manuscripts touch- 
ing the history of these parts, were either consumed 
at the capture or burning of Kazan, or, which is 
also not improbable, they were carried away by 
those Tartars of distinction who fled to Bucharia. 
The modem Tartars have a few traditions as to the 
building of Kazan, as also of the ancient neighbour- 

234 KAZAN. 

iog nations by which it was surrounded. But these 
traditions are equally absurd with the details given 
on the subject in the compositions of Leezloff and 

'' The first mention of Kazan in the Russian 
annak was in 1385, on the following occasion : — 
Touktamish, Khan of the Golden Hordes of Tar- 
tary, gave Nishney Novgorod, formerly the pro- 
perty of Simeon Demetrius, Prince of Souzdal, to 
the Grand Duke Demetrius. The former prince 
attempted to recover it, and indeed succeeded, 
through the aid of Tatiaka, or Entiak, Tzar of Ka- 
zan, which last was, however, ultimately pursued 
by the forces of Moscovy, which captured the cities 
Bulgari, Djpuktan, and also Kazan. 

** In the year 1430, TJluck Mahomed, or Maho- 
med the Great, made his appearance; he was ako 
Khan of the Golden Hordes, but about the period 
of their decline. For a long time he remained in- 
active in the vicinity of BiabeflT, but, in 1444, he ob- 
tained possession of Nishney Novgorod ; in 1445, he 
made an unsuccessful attempt upon Murom, being 
repulsed by the Grand Duke Vasillevitch. In the 
autumn of 1445, the two sons of Mahomed plun- 
dered the neighbourhood of Souzdal, and entirely 
defeated the forces of the Grand Duke, who was 
taken prisoner, but liberated in October of the same 
year, upon the promise of a ransom ; which he was 

KAZAN. 225 

unable to pay, in consequence of falling into the 
hands of his kinsman, who deprived him of his 

'* After these successes^ Uluck Mahomed marched 
towards Kazan, i. e. in 1446, which, having freed 
itself from the yoke of the Golden Horde, was now 
governed by its own princes ; the city was cap- 
tured, and Ali-bey (Le-bey), its prince, was killed. 
Mametak, son of Uluck, was placed upon the 
throne, and with him commenced the new dynasty, 
Nikon says, in his Russian Annals, ' and from that 
time commenced the kingdom of Kazan.' 

'' Kazan, from its conquest by Uluck Mahomed, 
was governed by the following khans. 

" 1st. Mametak, his son, from the year 1446. 
The time of his death is uncertain; and his brother 
Jagoob resided as an emigrant in Russia. The 
Tcheremiesie, in conjunction with the Tartars, 
made frequent incursions upon their enemies, parti- 
cularly into Jousting, which place they plundered. 

" 2d. Kalil, son of Mametak, whose reign was 

** 3d. Abraham, brother to Kalil, reigned from 
1467 to 1478. Under his sovereignty, the Kazan- 
ners attacked Jousting, and pirevented the Russian 
forces, which were advancing towards Kazan, from 
crossing the Volga. In January, 1461, the Tche- 
remiesie suffered severely in a battle with the Rus- 



siaos ; while another force, assisted by the Viat- 
kians, ia June, 1468, never reached its destination ; 
the Yiatkian force having been defeated by that of 
Kazan, while the Tcheremiesians were similarly 
treated bv the Russians on the banks of the Kama. 
Notwithstanding these defeats, a powerful Russian 
army was obliged to retreat from before Kazan in 
1409, whither they had proceeded in boats. In 
the same year, the Grand Duke Gregory, brother 
to John Vassilovitch, appeared with a powerful force 
before Kazan, and at once burnt the suburbs of the 
city. The Khan Abraham was in a desperate si- 
tuation, and promised to submit. In September, 
1478, he, however, being assured that the Grand 
Duke had been defeated near Novgorod, imme- 
diately advanced upon Viatka and Jousting for the 
purpose of plunder; but, from the appearance of a 
Russian force before Kazan in the month of May, 
he was again obliged to submit : indeed the want 
of faith on the part of the Tartars could only be 
equalled by the tardiness of the Russians in punish- 
ing them. Hence, in after times, may be traced 
the many useless wars between these nations. 

'' 4th. Ali, the son of Abrdiam, 1478 to 1487, 
had no sooner ascended the throne, than his brother 
Machmadamen fled to the Grand Duke of Russia, 
and instigated that prince to march against Kazan; 
there he proceeded^ in the month of Mfty of the 

KAZAN. 227 

same year, and reduced it on the 9th of July, 
making prisoner Ali. The Grand Duke raised 
Machmadamen to the throne of his brother. 

" 5th. Machmadamen, 1487 to 1496. In this 
reign, the Kazanners were first teiined vassals of 
the Russian Grand Dukes, and were consequently 
bound to furnish a considerable proportion of aux- 
iliary troops. In like manner, also> Machmadamen 
obtained succour, when, in the winter of 1496, 
Mamouk, Khan of Siberia, wiiged war against him. 
Mamouk retreated upon the advance of the Russian 
allies, which latter people also returned home, with- 
out even leaving a garrison of protection to the 
Kazanners. Mamouk, being in league with many 
of the inhabitants, again presented himself before 
the gates of the city, and compelled Machmadamen 
to abandon and forsake it. The new possessor soon 
rendered himself disagreeable to his tributaries, by 
depriving them of their property, an act which was 
as instantly retaliated with success ; for the moment 
he quitted the city, the gates were shut, and he 
was not readmitted, but returned to Siberia; while 
the Grand Duke placed upon the throne the brother 
of Machmadamen, who brought a considerable suite 
of Russians: his name was — 

*' 6th. Abdalla, 1497 to 1502. He was aided 
by the Russians, in 1499, against Argalask, bro- 
ther to Mamouk, who had laid siege to Kazan a 



second time, and, although the place was success- 
fully defended, still the conduct of Abdalla met 
with the disapprobation of the Grand Duke, who 
caused him to be seized and conveyed to Moscow 
io chains. 

** In his place, Machmadamen, 7th, again ascended 
the throne, and continued there from 1502 to 1518. 
In 1505, he revolted, ordered the detention of all 
the Russians in Kazan, to the number of fifteen 
thousand, not even excepting the ambassadors, 
and deprived them of all their property. In Sep- 
tember of the same year, he marched against 
Nishney Novgorod, but without success. In 1506, 
the Russians advanced against Kazan. The Tar- 
tars, conscious of their strength, abandoned the 
camp^ which immediately came into the possession 
of the Russians, who, not suspecting the Tartars 
were still in ambush, were taken by surprise, and 
forced to retreat with considerable loss, as well as 
the sacrifice of a considerable part of their artil- 
lery. Not long after this, Machmadamen altered 
his conduct; his mother, being the wife of the Khan 
of the Crimea, and in alliance with Yassili Ivano- 
vitch, was the means of renewing the former ami- 
cable connexions with Russia ; the captives were 
liberated, and allegiance was sworn to. A pro- 
tracted illness carried him off at the same time that 
it did his brother Abdalla. To succeed him, the 

KAZAN. 22d 

Kazanners, at their own desire, received, from the 
Grand Duke, Shakaly as their Khan ; he was the 
descendant of the Khan of Astrakan, and arrived 
in April, 1519. He was very deformed in person, 
and Kerberstein has compared him to an English 
bull-dog. This Khan was therefore not likiely to 
please the Kazanners ; indeed, he refused to lead 
them out to pillage, and punctually obeyed the will 
of his protector the Grand Duke. In the spring 
of 1521, he was expelled from the city, and Safa- 
geray was chosen in his stead ; he was the son of the 
Crimean Khan. 

*' 9th. Safageray, 1521 to 1530. In his reign, 
the Russian ambassador, as well as the merchants, 
were not only detained, but put to death. Shakaly 
fled to the Grand Duke with his complaint, which, 
however, was not attended to, from the critical 
state he was himself io. In September, 1521, 
Shakaly privately quitted Moscow, then besieged 
by the Khan of the Crimea. In August, 1523, an 
expedition was undertaken against the Kazanners, 
but was productive of no evil consequences, except 
the building of Vassiligorod on the river Soura. 
In July, 1524, an army of one hundred and eighty 
thousand men marched, under Shakaly, against 
Kazan ; this expedition, also, proved unsuccessful ; 
large quantities of succours were lost, owing to tiie 
great diflSculties opposed to their conveyance; the 

380 KAZAN. 

militaiy arrangements were badly planned ; nor did 
the commanders wish, nor were they possessed of 
sufficient courage, to commence an attack. Safiei- 
geray, in the mean time, encompassed them with 
his cavalry. On the 15th August, the Russians 
advanced to the walls of Kazan, and again as 
quickly retired, contenting themselves with the 
promises of submission made by the Kazanners. 

** Embassies were fitted out on either side ; still, 
however, the same faithless conduct was pursued ; 
and, in 1530, another Russian force was marched 
against Kazan, which produced a battle between 
the Khans of Nagaesk and Astrakan, and ultimately 
led to the siege of the city. Again did the Elhan 
acknowledge the supremacy of the Russians, and 
again were ambassadors appointed, by whose 
assistance, the Kazanners were induced to dethrone 
Safageray, in whose stead, the Russians placed 
Enalay, brother to Shakaly. 

" Enalay, from 1531 to 1535. For some time 
Kazan went on tranquilly, Enalay and his subjects 
continuing faithful to the Grand Duke, until the 
Khan complained of the change in the government 
of Kazan, when he was confined in the Bielo Ozero. 
Safageray retired to the Crimea, where he became 
Khan ; and when the Kazanpers had assassinated 
Enalay, they readmitted Safageray, in considera- 
tion of his having again been driven from the 

KAZAN. 231 

throne of the Crimea ; ifidead there is hardly an 
instance upon record of the powers of a sovereign 
l>eing granted, withdrawn, and regranted in such 
a variety of ways, as were endured by this Safage- 
ray, who, in 1535, reascended, and continued till 
1546. Reckoning upon the protection of the 
Khan of the Criimea, he plundered the neigh- 
bourhood of Kazan ; and, though the Khan of 
the Crimea constandy strove, by his interference, 
to produce an amicable arrangment between the 
Russians and Safageray, yet never would the latter 
think of submitting himself as tributary to the 
Grand Duke: he Was therefore again expelled, 
after conferring the whole of his favours on the 
Crimeans. Shakaly had, in the mean time, con- 
tinned in great favour with the Grand Duke, and 
to him. the Kazanners submitted, and promised 
obedience ; which, however, lasted but one month, 
when he was expelled, and again replaced by the 
fickle and fortunate Safageray, from 1546 to 1549, 
during which period he was not very popular, 
although several of the Tartar nobles submitted to 
Russia, as did likewise those Tcheremiesie inhabit- 
ing' the ri^t bank of the Volga. February and 
March, 1548, produced a short war, during which a 
battle was fought between the Kazanners and the 
Russian troops under the Tzar John Vassilovitch, 
unproductive of any consequence but the mutual 


282 KAZAN. 

separation of the combatants. In March, 1549, 
Safageray died at Kazan, and was succeeded by 
his son, the 

14th Khan, named Outamish, 1549 to 1551; 
who, not being more than two years of age, was 
placed under the care of guardians, who in vain 
sued for peace with the Tzar John Vassilovitch. 
Kazan was besieged until the approach of warm 
weather. In May, 1551, the foundation of the 
city of Sviashk was laid, and thence may be dated 
the determination on the part of the Russians to 
destroy the power of the Khans. A considerable 
force was left in the newly-founded city, as also in 
all the immediate environs of Kazan. The Tartars, 
thus pressed upon all sides, with constant losses in 
numerous skirmishes, hoped to extricate themselves 
by accepting Shakaly as their Khan. The infant . 
Outamish and his mother were accordingly sent to 
Sviashk in August, 1551. 

** 15th. Shakaly soon arrived in the city, with 
several Russian boyars, and five hundred archers. 
But Russians and Tartars soon became dissatisfied 
with Shakaly, more especially for his having put to 
death, in his own palace, seventy of the principal in- 
habitants. The Russians insisted on his returning 
a considerable booty which the Kazanners had ob- 
tained on different occasions ; nor would the Rus- 
sians restore to him the right bank of the Volga. 

KAZANr 233 

Thus pressed bj Tartars and Russians, the hum- 
bled Khan, to save assassination, left the city with 
his five hundred archers, in the month of March, 
1552. He was succeeded by 

*\ 16th. Ejdegar. To free themselves from 
Shakaly, the Kazanners had promised to admit 
a Russian governor; they now not only refused 
compliance, but put to death all the Russians- 
residing in the town. They also endeavoured to 
foment an insurrection with the people residing in 
the vicinity of Sviashk, and chose for their Khan 
this Edegar, son to the Khan Kasay Achmadava, 
of Astrakan. The Grand Duke was not long before 
he marched a powerful force, and immediately 
besieged Kazan. The plan was skilful ; opposite 
to each entry of the town, batteries were erected, 
and the cannonade commenced. 

" On the 30th of August, 1652, Nimchin Raz- 
misl (a German engineer) successfully prepared 
some mines, and, as the city had rejected all the 
proposals of the Tzar, the mine was fired, and the 
walls of the city blown up, on the morn of the 2d 
of October. The Russians immediately stormed 
the breach, and, notwithstanding the stout resist- 
ance of the Tartars, they became victorious. The 
Khan was taken prisoner, but pardoned upon con- 
dition of embracing Christianity ; he was baptized, 
and assumed the name of Simeon. 

384 KAZAN. 

'* Thus from 1446 to 1552, a period of one 
hundred and six years, there were seventeen Khans 
of Kazan; two of them had been three times 
elevated, and as often again ejected. Such a series 
of petty and indecisive warfare hardly appears in 
history. After the final conquest of it by the 
Russians, the people became accustomed to the 
new government; but those who lived more distant, 
were constantly fomenting insurrecti<»is. Russian 
forces were continually sent to quell tiiem, as also 
to collect the tribute whioh had been imposed, and 
which was collecjted in so arbitrary and nDJost a 
manner, that the Kazanners lost all patience, and 
broke out into q>en rebellion in 1553 ; nor were 
the Russians, who now governed Kazan, capable 
of quelling it. 

'* The rebels assembled from all parts of the 
Volga, as well as from Arskoy, on the river Mesh ; 
intrenching themselves, they continued to disturb 
the whole territory of Kazan, until February, 1554, 
when a large Russian army defeated them, killed 
many, and made fifteen thousand of the Tartars 
prisoners. Those who escaped retired into the 
woods, of Viattsk, and thence sent to request a truce, 
which was granted them. Fresh disturbances 
broke out in 1555, and continued till 1557 ; during 
which period, a succession of injury and oppression 
was heaped upon the Tartars, and as obstinately 

KAZAN. 336 

retorted^ as occasions offered. In 10749 ^e Rus- 
sians sent a large force to reduce the Tcheremiesie, 
which latter nation was soon compelled to submit. 
Indeed, for thirty years, nothing but disturbances 
took place ; at last the Kazanners, feeling the su- 
periority of the Russian character, placed them- 
selves for a perpetuity under the banners of Feodor 
Ivanovitch, who had then succeeded to the sove- 
reignty of Russia. As the power of the Tartars 
declined, so that of the Russians increased, and 
became at last so great, that the first viceroy 
governed it with uncontrolled power; any 
apprehension of rebellion had been avoided, by 
sending as auxiliaries to the Russian armies all 
the discontented Tartars, together with their 
princes and murzas, most of whom found a grave 
in Livonia. 

** A few days after the capture of Kazan, the 
foundation of a stone church was laid on the very 
spot where the Russian standard was first planted. 
It was built in commemoration of the 2d October, 
wHch is stai a fast day with the Greek chureh, 
and termed Caprian and Oostien. The cathedral 
of Blagavedbtdieiiskia, viz. glad tidings, was com- 
l^ted in 1562. The Tartar mosques were de- 
stroyed, and every means resorted to for the spread- 
ing of the Christian religion. In February, 1555, 
Kazan was erected into an archbishopric, compre- 

236 KAZAN. 

bending the following dioceses: Kazan, Vassil- 
Gorod, Viatsk, and Sviagsk; the monastery of 
Sparsk for males, and that of Kazan for females ; 
they were both founded by John Vassilovitch. 

^^ The possessions of the Tartar princes and 
khans were confiscated, and given to the clergy and 
children of the boyars; the commons were dis- 
tributed between the Russian soldiers and those 
Tartars who embraced Christianity; while the 
common people of Kazan were enrolled as peasants 
of the crown. 

*^ The affairs relating to Kazan and its govern- 
ment were conducted in a special court established 
at Moscow, and known, in the year 1599, by the 
name of the palace of Kazan. It took cognizance 
of the collection of tribute from the former Khans 
of Kazan and Astrakan, tried criminal and other 
causes, administered justice, and granted patents. 
In the reign of Boris, Feodorovitch-Koutchoum, 
the last of the Siberian Khans, was defeated, ex- 
pelled, and his possessions seized. 

** During the rebellion which agitated the Rus- 
sian empire in 1612, Kazan sided with the party of 
the great patriot Posharsky, a native of this place. 
The troubles here experienced were, however, of 
no great import, nor of long continuance, as they 
terminated with the re-capture of Moscow. Kazan 
was also desolated, in 1774, by the traitor Pougat- 


KAZAN. 237 

cheff. He headed the rebellion on the banks of 
the Oural in 1773, and then threw himself into 
Kazan. From the 12th to the 15th of July, the 
city was given up to plunder and murder, and 
lastly to fire. The castle alone was preserved, 
previous to the arrival of General Michaelson. 

" During the reign of the Tzar Michael Feodo- 
rovitch, tranquillity reigned in the government of 
Kazan. His successor, Alexei Michaelovitch, 
commanded towns and other fortified places to be 
built for the defence of the southern parts. Sim- 
bersk was built in 1648, between which time and 
1654, the Simberian line between the rivers Volga 
and Soura was erected ; it consisted of a rampart 
formed of earth and straw (Meakov). In 1732, 
the line between the Kama and Volga, called 
Sokamsk, was also laid. 

*^ In 1688, the Mishtsharacks were transferred 
from the neighbourhood of Alatier and Simbirsk 
to the province of Ufinisk, as were also the 
Tcheremiesie and Mordva from the neighbourhood 
of Kazan to the rivers Sok and Tcheremshan. In 
1714, a new government was formed, comprehend- 
ing the cities of Kazan, Sviagsk, Viatka, Koungour, 
Simbirsk, and Penza : this was again changed, in 
1780, by Catherine the Great, When all the former 
territories of the Khans of Kazan were divided into 
the following governments :— 

238 KAZAN. 

*^ ist. The country of the Viatka, having the 
town of its own name as the seat of government. 

'^ 2d. The country situated near the upper part 
of the Kama ; Perm the capital. 

** 3d. The country between the Volga and Kama ; 
with the city of Kazan for its capital. 

" 4th. The country between the Volga and Soura; 
Simbirsk the capital. 

'' 5th. The country between the Matka and Soura; 
Penza its capital. 

** 6th. The southern country between the Soura 
and the Volga; Saratof the capital. 

" 7th. The country of Ufa had been already 
separated, in 1734, from the territory of Kazan ; 
and is called the government of Orenbourg. Ufa 
is the capital, since 1782. 

** In May, 1722, Peter the Great visited Kazan . 
he established an admiralty and dock-yard for 
building vessels to navigate the Volga and Caspian 
Sea ; likewise a cloth manufactory, for the supply- 
ing the army. The clerical seminary and the 
school for convicts were established in 1726. 
The college was founded in 1758 ; the university 
established in 1805, opened in 1814, and endowed 
in 1820." 

The learned professor has in his possession a va- 
riety of Tartar or Mafaomedan manuscripts; they 
all run in the same strain of simplicity. Among 

KAZAN. 299 

others I select the following, as giving, in a 
more concise manner, their own history of their 
country :-r- 

*' In the year 707 (1300), from the time of cal- 
culating years, Aksak Toumier took the city of 
Bulgari from Abdoul Khan. Abdoul had two 
SODS, one named Altoun Bek, the other Alem 
Bek; both were Khans. Upon the destruction 
of Bulgari, they proceeded to the banks of the 
river Kazanky, and built themselves a city. The 
people under his subjection inhabited it ninety- 
four years, when the place became disagreeable, 
and it was abandoned. They then built another 
city at the mouth of the s^e river, and there 
they remained one hundred and fifty-eight years, 
when the race of the Mussulmen Khans terminated. 
At this time there was no Khan in Kazan; 
Shiek Ali was detained in captivity by the Russian 

'^ Some time after this, the Russians, acquiring 
strength, appeared with all tbeir forces before 
Kazan, for the purpose of taking possession of it. 
At this time Ivan Kalta reigned over Russia ; for 
seven years they were unable to bring the Mussul- 
men to submit. Previously to the capture of 
Kazan, the Russians built a city at the mouth of 
the Sviag, in which they placed guns, a military 
chest, fire-arms, and stores of provisions. After 

240 KAZAN. 

this, Shiek Ali sided with the Russians, and^ un-* 
known to the Mussnlmen, he ordered water to be 
poured over the gunpowder ; and, lastly, he surren- 
dered the city. The greater part of the people 
were killed or wounded. After this carnage, the 
Tzar obtained possession of Kazan; an event 
which took place in the year 959, reckoning from 
the Hegira (1552). The Russians acquired pos- 
session on a Sunday, and on the second day of the 
constellation of the Scorpion, that is, on the 2d of 

'' The names of the Khans who governed Kazan 
are as follows : viz. the sons of Abdoul Khan, 
Altoun Bek, and Alem Bek. After these followed 
Machmoud Khan, Matiak Khan, Khalil Khan, 
Abraham Khan, Moukhammadamin Khan, Mamouk 
Khan, Abdallah Khan, Sakhil-Gheray Khan, 
Safe-Gheray Khan, Ali Khan, Outiak Khan, and 
Jadigar Khan. This last reigned in the year 959 
(1552), when there was an eclipse of the sun. 
After him Kazan became subject to Russia." 

Arabian inscriptions found in the market-place 
of Kazan : ^ 


God, the holy, the righteous, the just, and the majestic, 
said : All those who live in the earth will fade away, but the 
visage of the Lord, dressed in honour and glory, will shine 

*' Blessings and deliverance be to Mahomed, who declared 
the world not to be eternal. 


" Also blessings and deliverance to the Lord, who said. 
The world is above all kings. 

" In the year 936 (1529) of the hegira of Mahomet, in 
the month of Zoulkaghed, the son of Meakhammed Shakla 
was killed by the hand of the Christian Moukhammed 

With these few translations I shall close my re- 
marks regarding Kazan. Of Bulgari much less is 
known, although its site is but eighty miles from 
Kazan. It stood in a fertile and rich plain, and 
still boasts some interesting monuments of antiquity, 
one of which I annex. 

The wall which encompassed the city is still 
traceable, and is four miles in circumference. At 
present, a small village and church occupy a part 
of the site, the gardens being actually spread over 
a bed of human bones. I have seen some able 
drawings of the remaining monuments in the col* 
lection of Professor Fuchs. 

The needful preparations being made for my 
departure, such as purchasing a new kibitka^ pro- 
curing passports, laying in a stock of provisions, 
and bidding adieu to all friends, I set out ; and 
crossing a ferry of six miles over the Volga, against 
a N.W. wind, reached the first station safe* My 
baggage and horses did not arrive until near 
midnight, when we crossed two more ferries, the 
face of the country being scarcely visible from the 

VOL. U, R 


flood. Next eyening I reached Tcbeboksari, on 
the right bank of the Volga, having come over a 
JTertile and beautiful country, tolerably well peopled, 
who were as civH and obliging as conld be desired. 
Many extensive tanneries and tallow-refining places 
are in the neighbourhood. Tcheboksari has eight 
hundred dwellings and three thousand inhilbitants^ 
besides two con^icttous monasteries; its situation 
is romantic, and it has a considerable trade, 
especially of a fine tallow, which is much es- 
teemed in England ; it is, notwithstanding, a dirty 

From Tcheboksari the road was very bad. I 
Crossed a difficult ferry on the Soma, from ike 
town of Vassil, and therice on to Nishney Novgorod, 
where I arrived at son-set. The theatre had just 
closed, and I consequently met most of the wealthy 
|>eop!e returning from it. The view of Nishney 
Novgorod from a distance of ten miles has a fine 
efieet; the country is well cultivated, and I en- 
joyed the beanty and richness of the landscapes. 
I procured lodgings at a regular hotel, and 
^ited upon the governor, but was again so nn- 
foHtttiale as not to meet his amiable English wife* 
'the bialdin^s for the new fair have increased 
f&pidly, and have a handsome appearance ; still, 
however, I feel far froth convinced of their dnra- 
jbflity or iaf^ty /Irom the encroachments of the 


liver Volga. Many extra precautions, at a conii^** 
deraUe expense> hav& been taken sinee I was last 
h&te $ and the direction of the works has been taken 
from €^enerai Betancourt, and given to the Prince 
of Wirtembourg. Whether his highness is a 
better engineer I know not, but he does not bear 
that character, perhaps unjustly. The bank on 
which the fair stands, has, in many places, been 
raised twelve, and in some eighteen^ feet. The 
dbiirch, theatre, hotel, gov^nment^house, guard- 
house, chancery, and public offices, are handsoine 

There are two thousand seven hundred shops, 
winch, when let, wiU fNroduce seven hundred 
dwusand .roubles per annum, while the expenses 
have already amounted to seven millions, and it is 
apposed will require at least two mor^. The 
erection has most materially altered and beneiled 
the appearance of Novgorod, which now contains 
thirty thousand inhabitants; it is paved, kept 
dean, and well policed; at least the upper town is: 
the lower town is still, of course, a place foi: th6 
Jews and pedlars, fildi and dirt attending it and 
Aem. My old Spanidi acquaintances were stiti at 
Work, and, although a little discontented at the 
fall of their patron, Gteneral Betancourt, were still 
dbing well, and grateful to Russia* 

Frmn Nid»ey Novgorod I contiWMd toy nMrt^ 

R 2 


and reached the large and handsome vUIage of 
Bogorodskoye, belonging to the Count Shereme- 
tieff. There are, in the neighbourhood, many vil- 
lages belonging to the same young nobleman, as 
also several residences ready for his reception. 
This young count is not only the richest subject in 
Russia, but is more than comparatively the richest 
in the world. He has one hundred and sixty 
thousand peasants, and a revenue not far short of 
three millions of roubles. The village of Bogorod- 
skoye contains nine hundred dwellings and five 
thousand inhabitants ; the situation is fine, and the 
country well wooded ; and such is the face of the 
country all the way to Vladimir, where I arrived at 
noon. I had passed the large village of Pavlovo, 
Containing three thousand houses and fifteen thou- 
sand inhabitants, also belonging to the Sheremetieff 
family. Many iron manufactories are to be seen 
at work, and the country is highly cultivated. 
Numerous populous villages, all having a handsome 
villa, in a dilapidated state, attract the attention of 
the traveller. Mourom, M onacovo, and other small 
towns are in the same condition; and the only 
clifierence I observe is the increased impudence of 
the post-masters; in some places I was exceedingly 
provoked with their extortion. 

This conduct of post-masters is one of the 
greatest iiuisances in the Russian empire, and is. 


in some measure, imputable to the government. A 
traveller arrives at a post-house, procures horses, 
and is about to depart, when an officer also comes 
upon service, and takes the horses from the tra- 
veller. It often happens also that a traveller 
arrives with a passport and order for horses, and, 
although there be plenty, the post-master will not 
give ihem under fifty per cent, increase : this is 
the hard case in which civilians, and people not in 
the service of the Emperor, are placed. Govern- 
ment have punished several offenders, but the law 
and custom of procuring horses are bad. Why 
should not individuals be allowed to hire their own 
horses, without being subject to the compulsion of 
engaging them from the post-contractor? Speaking 
of the post, it may not be unamusing or useless 
to inform my readers, that to send a letter from 
^ne part of the Russian empire to the other, • the 
postage must be paid in advance — a circumstance 
which appears to me to keep back education more 
than any thing else. There is a great difference, 
I presume, in paying to send a letter, of the con- 
tenta of which a person is acquainted, and paying 
for the receipt of a dozen letters coming from a 
parent or friend. It is said that many false letters 
would be sent by the ignorant and mischievous ; 
this indeed, might at first be the case; but let 
them be sent, they will thus become better edu- 


•ated, and, ib tfae end, wffl know better imm to 
employ dieir time ; to say aodiing of a ccmakbiable 
inerease in the post reyenae, wfaieh mast take pkuse 
as edneation expands. 

The road from Yladimipr to Mosoow is a bad 
one> being a continval caaseway. It rained hard^ 
and my cayt beipg leaky, the journey was exeeed* 
ingly uni^easant. The approach to Moscow not « 
Mttle exposed the dMurdity of the belief that the 
approach towards civilization is the a^piroaeh to 
happiness. The people more surly , the articles of 
life dearer, no hospitality, voracious appetite for 
gain, innumerable be^;ars, roads crowded with 
vehicles of all descriptions— such are the sure 
signs of approaching a capital, and such was the 
ease as I entered Moscow's crowded streets, and 
pnt up at the London Hotel; which I reccwunend 
no one else to do, from its expensiveness, ud the 
mattention and want of cleanliness of its ownera. 
My stay in Moscow occupied me three weeks, 
there being no spare places in the diligence, which 
has been lately established upon a liberal and suc- 
cessful plan. The custom or patronage it has re- 
ceived from the public is unbounded, and the outfit 
is already repaid to the speculator. 

I was most hospitably entertained by my old 
Enj^ish fxiends, as well as by several of the no- 
bility. I attended the opera and theatre, and paid 

iMtB lo 4tie nvmckTOiis milgniftewt viUas mi Ibf 
mdghboivhood «f Moscow, whidb are well mqtS^ 
tbeii^tlBiition of tibe tm?ell0r» andfoffciUyxemiode^ 
me of Old England. I also visiled the new 
Wttlk0 and facdens of the Kremlin, and consider 
tbem as very handsome* Tlie experimental fann 
"WhSwik iias lately been esftaUjahed by the Mosoo.w 
Imperial Society ol Rural Economy, and which 
19 amdi patronised by the nobility of IUissi<|, 
hafl met with snccess; it^ present president, the 
governor-general of Moscow, Prince Wladimir 
GbdHsao, is a man of great merk and spiriA^ and 
has placed it nnder the management of my friend^ 
Mr. Rogers. I also visited the pobUc prison^, 
wUcb are conducted according to a plan suggested 
by the lamented Howard. They are far superior 
to those c£ the new capital ; fifteen hundred prison* 
em are confined in them, ^venty-five of whom jure 

The governor-general's late noble residence Wjas 
destroyed by fire the last winter, and has not yet 
been rebuilt. The anecdote respecting it wiU lie 
long remembered in Moscow. It was at a grand 
ball. And when the tables were already laid for 
■upper, that the fire was discovered. It had long 
been 4een by the watchman, but he could not 
tlnnk of giving the alarm, or disturbing the qua^ 
dnSles and waltaes. When it was known, the 

248 MOSCOW. 

company had barely time to escape befoi^ ttie 
drawing-room floor fell in, carrying with it the 
supper-tables, already covered with the usual deli- 
cacies and ornaments. 

Among the most conspicuous personages in 
Moscow was Lieutenant Holman, of the Royal 
Navy, a blind poor knight of Windsor. I passed 
several pleasant days with him, and considered 
the accomplishment of my design of penf^trating 
through Siberia as nothing, when compared to his 
determination of proceeding also. He related to 
me many anecdotes of his travels and second sight. 
What object he can have, without a servant, in 
going to Siberia, I know not. He, indeed, may 
go there as well as any where else, for he will see 
just as much ; but there is so little to be seen by 
those who have even the use of their eyes, that I 
cannot divine what interest he can have to attempt 
it, without even a knowledge of the Russian lan- 
guage. If his journal, which may be made inte- 
resting, be composed of hearsay, as it certainly 
cannot be of ocular evidence, he will indeed have 
enough to do to record the information he may 
receive, and which can only proceed from exiles 
or criminals, and consequently not implicitly to be 
relied upon ; particularly, situated as he is, pos- 
sessing hardly su£Bcient knowledge of the Russian 
language to appreciate duly the value of such 

MOSCOW. ff49 

hearsay informatioD. His manuscript must become 
volnraiDOUs, and, of coarse, too bulky to be 
sent by private hands; it can only therefore be 
forwarded by the post, where, without doubt, it 
will be subject to the examination of those whose 
duty it is to inspect documents of such a nature' as 
this is likely to be, and will be treated according 
to its merit. 

In etery country, even in England, we find that 
foreigners should be careful of what they do, as 
well as of what they write, if they wish their packets* 
a safe arrival to their destination : they should take 
care that nothing ofiensive to the government be 
inserted ; for frequently, as in England, truth is a 
libel,' and the greater the truth, the greater the 
libel. Whether Mr. Holman has already learnt 
this useful, and, to travellers, necessary, lesson, 
time will develope ; if so, he may go where he 
will, and be received by every person in the empire 
with open anns and warm hearts. I gave him 
letters of introduction to all my friends in Siberia, 
and shall feel most happy in his return. Who will 
then say that Siberia is a wild, inhospitable, or 
impassable country, when even the blind can 
traverse it with safety? 

Upon my outward journey through this city, 
I had but little time to pay any attention to it& 
situation, or indeed to any thing concerning it; 

SOB ifotcow. 

sar did I tidsk it neoaflsary, conmismg, as I did, 
that eveiy one was aoqaakted widi the laridbiaitad 
ttid ancieist capkal of the Ruasian empite. Upoii 
nyretQiB, I had as little time as incliotttioii tD 
attter cipoB the snbjeety from othw droMislaiiflea 
wliich it » here needless to mentiOQ. Suffice it ta 
say, I now venture to give the translation of a 
somewhat carious and interesting document^ wldoii 
shows the state of tins city in the year 1818, pre- 
Tions to the conflagration, and in the year 1618 ; 
only >six years subsequent to what may be tanned 
the total destruction of the most magnificent and 
CKtraosdinary city in the universe. When ^ilm 
statement is attentivdy considered, it cannot, X 
pvQsume, fail to strike the reader as affegrdii^ a 
wonderful example of the exertions of the Muaeo- 
ntes in a cause so calamitous. 

Moscow, standing upon more ground than atqr 
other city in Europe, Ada, or Africa, that we 
knew of, to be reduced to ashes ; and, in the ahosi 
quioe of six years, to boast an increase of two thea- 
sand one hundred and forty-one private dwdlinga, 
ome thousand and eighty-one of which ure of stone, 
and one thousand and sixty of wood, is a ciieuai'* 
stance reflecting every honour upon the Riasaian 
empire. If, therefose, from its ashes, it conld 
in aso short a time assume a grandeur sopeiiorto 
Ibatfomedy entertained of it, what must be its 

•Me alt <1m momettt, six years sobtequent to ih% 
timm I am bow spesddng of? 8«refy Mieb a oirriiM 
stance shows a Bjpirik of eoMibition never befove snr* 
posaed, if e^aalled, in any part of tbe worU. Nor 
ia it with this city, wnd^ similar circnmstanaes* 
that I will stop ; Kazan, Oronbonrg, Sarntof, in- 
deed several other considerable cities of the Russian 
empire, have each frequently shared the fate of 
fif oscow ; and yet they are no sooner burnt thqiD 
lebuijt: a subscription is set on foot, under tht 
inqiediata sanction of the Emperor, and the taxes 
are for a time rescinded with every class of so un- 
fortunate a people. The cities of Russia, from beiny 
generftUy built of woQd» are more than ordioarUy 
exposed to the fiery element ; in spite of the fact, 
Ihat no country in the world has provided the same 
means of alarm, or a more expeditious mode of 
bringing the engines into play, than the police of 
St. Petersburg. In illustration of this fact, I need 
but say, that, in every quarter or division of the 
different cities, there is an elevated tower, with a 
look-out day and night, to give a general alwm, 
and telegraphic inf<Mrmation, in case of fire. The 
general of the police is obliged to attend, and the 
engines being attached to these alarm towers, of 
Morse are enabled to proceed direct to their desti- 
nation. The general encouragement, nay, almost 
wnqiulsive measures, adopted by die govemment 

252 MOSCOW. 

to build with brick, will, it is presumed, preveot ao 
many devastating conflagrations as some of the most 
wealtliy cities have been subject to. 

In the summer of 1812, the inhabitants of Mos- 
cow were computed at 312,000, composed of the 
following classes, &c. 

Clergy 4,779 

Nobility 10,732 

Military 21,978 

Merchants 11,885 

Mechanics and artiflans of all denominations 19,036 

Servants of the nobility, who remain in Moscow 

during the summer, to guard the palaces, &c. . . 38,404 

Foreigners 1,410 

Common population and peasantry 203,776 

GrandTotal 312,000 

This number certainly fell very short of the win- 
ter population, when all the Muscovite and other 
retired noblemen, senators, generals, and governors, 
return to the city to spend the Christmas and other 
holidays, as well as the Carnival. It is also not 
unworthy of remark, that at the period this census 
was taken, all foreigners had been^ ordered away; 
their numbers were not inconsiderable : French, 
German, Italian, Swiss, Dutch, &c. all, even^the 
Prussians, were ordered away ; all those nations 
having been in league against this mighty empire. 

MOSCOW; 253 

The personal dependents upon a Russian nobleman 
are generally as numerous, and upon the same 
footing, as they are in Spain ; they are a species of 
heir-loom of charity, they are never turned away, 
they are considered an expensive but necessary 
appendage, for without them much murmur would 
ensue. Thus these united considerations induce 
me to lay down the winter population at 400,000 
or 430,000 souls. 

That this population, in common with every 
other capital, will increase, I doubt not ; especially 
if it continues to receive the support it now does, 
and more especially, if the Emperor Alexander 
makes good the hopes and expectations of the 
Muscovites, by making it the imperial residence 
for a period of three or four years, while the winter 
palace at St. Petersburg, undergoes a proposed 
complete repair, if it be not entirely rebuilt. 

That Moscow is a more advantageous spot for 
the capital of the Russian empire, than St. Peters- 
burg, there can be little or no doubt ; it is a sort 
of central spot between the Caspian and Baltic, as 
well as the White, Seas, besides other internal parts 
of the ancient empire, or dukedom, not forgetting 
the most remote parts of Siberia, to which there is 
a noble water-carriage by 9team, if properly carried 
into effect. The two rivers Moskva and Yaouza, 
with four canals, not a little strengthen my asser- 

£64 icosoow. 

tion ; they run iatO; through, and round the ckj; 
and might be made of the most wonderful eonse^ 
quence, they being all that oan tend to the necessity 
or comfort^ as well as to the luxurious appetites, 
of the inhabitants* 

Over these rivers and eanals there are ^ght^stoie 
bridges ; there are now also ninety-d^t bridges 
eonstnicted of wood, while, in 1812, there were 
but seventy-two. Surely an increase of twenty-six 
bridges upon a destroyed city is an evident mark 
of improvement, and of facilitating the intercouna 
from one part of the city to the other. Nor is tiuB 
the only proof of the desire which is entertained 
by the inhabitants, as well as by the government, to 
facilitate the means of communication ; the alleys, 
lanes, and narrow thoroughfares have increased 
from four hundred and one to five hundred and 
thirty^nine, while the principal, or first-rate, streets 
have decreased from one hundred and eq^hty-dnree 
to one hundred and sixty*four* The widening of 
these principal streets, and the greater extension of 
cross thoroughfares, have also tended to reduce ihe 
number of gardens attached to the houses of the 
nobility from one thousand three hundred and ninety- 
three, to one thousand and twenty-one; andalthougb 
this falling off in the ornamental as well as nsefol 
part of Moscow has taken place, stHl has the latter 
increased proportionately upon other equally He- 


ee$sai7 Wfxriui. Fornierly there were but three 
Ikouaaiid six buodred aad seventy weUs for water* 
while there are now three thonsaod seven hundred 
end mnety-tbree» being an increase of one hundred 
and twenty-three ia six years. The ornamental 
sheets <>f water, as well as fish-ponds, have also 
giren way to the increase of building, in a proper^ 
tion of from two hundred and ninety-seven to two 
bfvndred and fifty-three. 

The puUie entrances to the city, as well as the 
number of parishes into which Moscow is divided, 
•re the same ; the formw sixteen, the latter twen^. 
The number of public squares is also still twenty* 
frre ; some of tiiem are highly magn^cent. Of 
olher public establishments and buildings which 
have undergone no comparative change in con- 
df^n or number, I will enumerate the follow- 

1st. University, 1 ; 2d. Public colleges, 2 ; 9d* 
PnbUc schools, 2 ; 4th. Charitable hospitals, 3 ; 
9&i. Tmperial palaces, 4; 6th. Cathedrals, 7 ; 7th. 
Surial-grounds, 14; 8th. Military arsenal, 1 ; 9th* 
PttbMo charittyble mstitntion, 1 ; 10th. Edifice for 
the instruction of military orphans, 1 ; 11th. MiU- 
tery barraoks, 9 ; 12th. Foundling, 1 ; 18th. Theatre, 
1 ; I4di. Cannon-foundery, 1 ; I5th. Workhouse, 
1 ; 16th. For poor widows, 1 ; 17lb. Madhouse, 1 ; 
IBtL State prwoii^ 1 ^ 19th. Pablio elnb-houaes^ 2;^ 

256 MOSCOW. 

20th. Markets, 29; 21st. iDBrmaiies, 9 ; 23d. 
Slaughter-houses, 19; 23d. Signal-towers, 20 { 
24th. Watch-towers, 860. 

Of religious edifices, the forty forties are now no 
more ; superstitious bigotry is now sunk into the 
most tolerant of all religions ; for, whether Catholic, 
Protestant, Jew, Mahomedan, or Pagan, they 
are all alike countenanced in Russia. The Court 
of St. Petersburg appears to keep in mind the 
necessity of some religion ; thus we see its govern- 
ment countenancing those opinions which are most 
favourable to actual, though not to nominal, tole- 

In 1812 there were 296, now there are only 289 
churches ; of convents for friars, ihere were fifteen, 
now fourteen ; while for nuns there were nine, now 
but seven-^fourteen of one, and seven of another 
sort too many I The private chapels still remain at 

There are fifty-five public workhouses, as well ss 
the same number of storehouses or granaries, five 
cavalry stables, though formerly but two ; twelve 
printing-houses, though formerly but eight ; manu- 
factories now 376, formerly 442; public baths, 
formerly 41, now 33 — thirty-three too 
MANY !^ private baths 600, formerly 1050, a 
diminution which, in the year 1818, can only be 
attributed to the fact, that the noblemen and prind- 


pel gentlemeo of Moscow, from the yars, or corps 
d'ohservation, had not at that time returned to 
Mascovy to superintend the erection of their baths ; 
a statement I am borne out in by the knowledge 
that each nobleman's and gentleman's house in 
Russia is nothing without a bath ; diey have all, at 
least of the rank of nobility, a steam-bath, besides 
a more common one for the use of the domestics. 

The shops in the public bazaar, and which are 
under the immediate nightly control of government, 
were, in 1812, six thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-six, now only six thousand one hundred and 
thirty-six; private shops, in private houses, one 
thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, now but 
one thousand two hundred and twenty-six ; private 
seminaries, chiefly kept by foreigners, there were 
seventeen, now twenty-two ; and private academies 
now seventeen, formerly twenty-one. Although the 
gross number of these useful and scientific institu- 
tions will appear to be diminished, still it cannot 
but be allowed that the period has been so short as 
hardly to admit of a more extensive, or a more pre- 
mature recovery from former ilk. Of the reduc- 
tion of schools in particular, I may be permitted to 
observe, that the very general adoption of the Lan- 
casterian system of education through the whole 
empire, will alone be sufficient to convince the im- 
{partial, that so far from a retrogradation having 

VOL. II. s 

258 MOSCOW. 

taken place, a most wonderful adyance has been 
made. These Laneasterian schools boast as mmy 
hundreds of scholars, as there were in the private 
schools tens. 

'There were, in 1812, one hundred and eleven, 
but now only one hundred and seven, hot-houses ; 
kitchen-gardens there were two hundred and forty- 
eight, now two hundred and thirty-three ; smitheries 
three hundred and sixteen, now two hundred and 
thirty-seven ; inns and taverns six hundred and 
nine, now four hundred and six ; restaurateurs two 
hundred and fifty, now one hundred and eighty- 
seven; common eating-houses one hundred and 
eighty-two, now fifty-seven ; kabaks, or gin-shops, 
two hundred, now one hundred and thirty-two-; 
beer-houses ninety-nine, now fifty-seven; wine- 
vaults one hundred and sevetity, now one hundred 
and sixty-one ; public baking- houses one hundred 
and fifty-nine, now one hundred and ten; bun- 
houses two hundred and seventy-four, now but one 
hundred and forty. In this last account, it cannot 
fail to be seen that there is a diminution of various 
sorts of edifices and establishments, which more pe- 
culiarly denote the apparent grandeur, importance, 
or population of a city. The diminution of- the 
number of taverns, gin-shops, wine-vaults, &c. is 
from one thousand five hundred to one thousand, 
or one third. To what can this be attnbuted ? It 


k as fair to impate it to an increase of private 
morality, and a more domestic conduct of all classes 
of the Muscovites, as to a falling of public spirit. 
Probably the temporary conflagration of Moscow 
has done thus much permanent good: for a 
moment it so straitened the circumstances of the 
Muscovites, as to prevent that gross gratification of 
their appetites at coffee-houses, fitc. in which they 
were wont to indulge ; and that denial has now 
taught them the more solid enjoyments of home. 
With Russian noblemen and gentlemen, I can bear 
testimony to their abstinence at table in the use of 
wine or spirits ; they dine early, and, as soon as 
dinner is finished, they quit the table for coffee. 

When the last census in 1818 took place, it can 
hardly be supposed that Moscow was what it is ; 
if the xsity rose from its ashes in 1813, and was 
what we are given to understand as a fact in 1818, 
it will require little matter or manner to induce us 
to believe, that Moscow is what it never was, and 
that the absence of the court alone prevents it from 
being what no other capital is; 

The reduction of the number of apothecaries' 
shops from twenty-nine to twenty-five, carries with 
it an air of apparent mystery, not so in fact. So 
far from being an inconsiderate or inattentive act, 
it implies the more unequivocal proof of the good 
disposition of the government. No person can now 

8 2 

360 MOSCOW. 

aeli medicines who has not passed a public examin- 
ation; no medicines can be sold, except at a stated 
price ; any adulteration or surcharge b at the rbk 
of the apothecary; and all medicines must emanate 
from the imperial laboratory, which is most gene- 
rally supplied from the magazines of England. 

The lighting of the city I can also say is very 
good, .although the actual number of lamps has 
decreased from seven thousand two hundred and 
ninety-two to four thousand three hundred and 
forty-one. This fact is, however, but a proof that 
the introduction of better lamps acting upon wider 
streets has had a good effects During a very great 
part both of summer and winter, there is hardly 
any occasion for a lamp ; in the one season, they 
have light from an eternal sun, moon, or stars; and 
in the other, from the constant reflection of the 
snow, aided by the periodical appearance of moon 
or stars, as well as the generally clear atmosphere 
of If oscow at so cold a season. 

This comparative expose will speak for itself; 
I should not have introduced it, but for the defect 
appertaining to publications relating to Moscow. 
Of the numerous public and private edifices which 
that city contains, of their antiquity or origin, I 
shall not enter upon; enough by other writers has 
been said ^ I will, therefore close the comparative 
wcount of this city to resume my journey. 


Having seen Mr. Holman safe upon his road, 
under charge of the Cossack who had accompanied 
me from Tobolsk, I took my place in the diligence 
for St. Petersburg, in company with a Mrs. Brad- 
ford, widow of an English purser of the navy, and 
a lieutenant Read, of the Royal Marines, besides 
a young man under my charge from Kazan, in ill 
health. I regretted quitting the hospitable and 
friendly society of Moscow, which, in my opinion, 
is superior and more refined than that of its sister 
capital, and which, probably, arises from the cir- 
cumstance of its being almost exclusively inhabited 
by Russians, many of whom, after having filled 
with credit and honour the first ofiices of the em- 
pire, retire to Moscow, there to pass the remainder 
of their days in peace, tranquillity, and good society; 
as that capital is much more free, independent, 
and unshackled by the police than St. Petersburg. 
In Moscow observations are openly made on any 
unpopular act of the government; its senators 
have a very superior voice, and great attention is 
paid by the ministers to their representations. The 
nobility of Russia possess very extensive privileges 
and power, and if the government must be called a 
military despotism, it is a well regulated one, and 
happy are the people when it is governed, as now, 
by a prince as unambitious as he is humane. It is 
true, that its immense standing army, near a million 

263 KLINN. 

of men, in the hands of a prince differently 
inclined, would be a terrible engine of destruction, 
as well ag^ainst the lives as the liberties of Europe* 
The power of Russia is still more formidable^ when 
it b considered that the army is composed of hardy, 
bold, enterprising, and needy men ; who, go where 
they will, must be better off, either as to climate or 
productions, than at home. The present military 
expenses amount, I understand, to two hundred and 
fifty millions of roubles per annum ; a sum almost 
equal to two thirds of the revenue, for an army far 
surpassing what may be deemed truly necessary in 
times of profound peace ; the expense of which wiU 
be considerably diminished, if what I have heard be 
correct^ viz. that three hundred thousand men are 
to be reduced. 

Leaving this matter for more able politicians, I 
resume my journey in the diligence, in which I 

reached the handsome town of Klinn, and remem- 


bered the portal in the church where I had slept 
upon my outward journey. We reached Tver the 
next day, averaging about five miles and a half 
per hour. Having purchased of the people at 
Torjock some few articles of leather, such as em- 
broidered boots, shoes, and gloves, we continued 
in uninteresting route ; staid at Vishney Volotchok 
to dine, and then entered upon the high road, 
which is M^Adamizing, and wfll, when finished, be 


a most beautiful one ; three more years will be re- 
quired to complete it. Passing through Valdai, I 
again enjoyed the beauty of the scenery* the lake» 
and the insulated Iverskoy monastery. I reached 
Novgorod, crossed the river, and passed close to 
the new military colonies, ^ of which the city of 
Novgorod, as I was told, is to become the head- 
quarters. The experiment of this new system wOl 
be only extended to the peasants belonging to the 
cibwn, and the chief objects expected to arise from 
if are, first, the cheap maintenance of a large mi- 
Ktia force in times of peace; second, the replenish- 
ii^ of the regular armies, when war shall demand 
it, by a people already accustomed to military 
manoeuvres and the use of arms ; and, lastly, the 
doing away of the old feudal custom, which 
hitherto has been pursued, of recruiting the armies 
from the peasants of the nobility. The two last 
oonsiderations will enable the Emperor of Russia to 
equip a better and a more numerous army, and is 
less time than could formerly have been done; yet, 
notwithstanding these favourable considerations, 
'especially to the possessors of peasantry, and the 
advantages, in a pecuniary point of view, to the 
empire, much apprehension has been expressed of 
the dangers likely to arise from putting arms into 
the bands of the common people, and thus giving 
ibem an opportunity of forming intimate connexion 



with soldiers. The compulsory manner in whicii' 
these peasants were forced into this new militia 
jiervice, met, at first, with considerable objection, 
and, in some cases, with resistance ; but I beliere 
the disobedience did not continue long, at least I 
have heard nothing to the contrary. The unpo- 
pularity of the measure, perhaps, is not singular, 
and arises from the fact that most new systems 
begin by being equally unfortunate; Count Arakt- 
cheef, according to Dr. Lyall, is the author of it. 
His excellency b certainly one of the most confi* 
dential advisers of his Imperial Majesty, as well 
as powerful noblemen of the present day; but 
whether, in this case, his excellency's advice will 
ultimately prove beneficial or injurious to the 
Russian empire, time only can develope ; certain, 
however, is it, that still the measure is badly 
received. Novgorod has, no doubt, benefited by 
the proximity of the colonists, as also have the 
numerous villages in its vicinity. 

We reached the environs of the capital about 
sun-set, and safely arrived at the ill-attended^ 
dirty, and extravagant hotel of Mrs. Rea. I 
thought, however, that a few days of uncomfortable 
lodgings was no hard case to me, whatever it 
might be to others, and therefore I would not 
remove. Mr. Page's is, beyond all question, the 
l>est, most respectable, and, in the end, the 


dieapest hotel in St. Petersburg, from which I had 
been absent exactly three years and three weeks, 
and to which I had returned in infinitely, better 
health than when I left it. 

I was soon engaged at all sorts of dinners and 
entertainments, but was too anxious to get a 
passage by ship to the land of malt, to allow, my 
accepting them, I engaged the cabin of the Peter 
Proctor, the master of which ship had, on that day 
three months, dined with my father in Dominique, 
and left him in health and l^ppiness ; this news 
was a gratification I did not expect to experience so 
soon. The vessel being to depart with the first fair 
wind, I had but time to pay my respects to the 
Count Kotchoubey, my friend and protector. I 
tendered to his excellency my journal, oflTering to 
leave it in Russia, should his excellency desire it. 
The Count said, '' No, take it to England, publish 
the truth, and you will do more good than fabri- 
cating or inventing things which do not exist. 
Tell the people of England how you have been 
treated in Russia, but, at the same time, let us know 
what you have seen." I left his excellency, who 
was on a sick bed, penetrated with the highest 
sentiments for hi» virtues and affability, and paying 
my respects also to Sir Charles Bagot and Sir 
Daniel Bailey, I completed my official reports at 
the court of St. Petersburg — ^with the exception of 


one to the governor-general. Count HiloradoTtf^, 
respecting my passport, which was granted immcK 
diately, upon my own terms. It seems that a \9^ 
smuggling transaction, carried on at Cronstadt, lias 
uiYolyed several English merchants, asal«e Bossian 
ofBcers, who are by birth English^ Many people 
who got passports to depart, have gone, leaving 
very large debts unpaid; consequently, the 
governor-general made « rule that anyEnglishmflh 
about to quit the empire, should ^ve informatioh 
tinree times in the gs^ite, and also lodge securities 
for ai^ debts. I represented my anxiety to depart, 
lurii that the ship would sail in a few days, or the 
fs<8t fair wind. I was provided with a passport im 
the spot, and thus received the lastuci of kindness 
which it was possible to bestow. 

Sir Charles Bagot did me the honotir to mention 
many kind inquiries on the part of his Impend 
M^esty, In my absence, respecting me, which dd • 
honour to his heart, and to human nature, mid at 
the same time increase the many obligations I aki 
under to his Majesty, who has my heartfeH gra- ' 
tkude. Such is the reward, to me invaluable, for 
all the troubles and difficulties I may have endured 
upon my long journey. The Emperor had fre- 
quently in my absence inquired into my pecuniary 
vitimtion, mid as often made a tender, through Sir 
C Bagot^ of any assistance I stood in need of. 

■T. PBTfiB8BUR0« 


vhich I was bound to decline, in consequence of mj 
being every where received in such a manner as to 
almost render money unnecessary. His Imperial 
Majesty also frequently expressed a fear that I 
should not be able to surmount the difficulties in* 
cident to a voyage of the kind ; in short, that t 
should not again reach Europe safely. 


I WAS not a little flattered to learn from Sir 
Charles Bagot, personally as well as by letter^ that 
no part of my conduct had met with the smallest 
disapprobation from the Russian goyernment. My 
object had been to avoid the rocks and shoals which 
travellers usually split upon ; and while with the 
natives, I studied to accommodate myself to their 
manners. I uniformly ate, drank, and slept with 
them ; dressed in the same way ; bore a part of 
their fatigues, and participated in their recreations ; 
and, I hope, made myself an acceptable, instead of 
a disagreeable guest. 

If I have morally erred in my wanderings, I am 
sorry for it ; I am unconscious of any harm done 
to any one, and if, in these pages, I have said 
more than was prudent or necessary, it has proceed- 
ed from a desire to tell the truth ; if, in telling that 
truth (which ought not always to be told), and in 


drawing comparisons, I have incautiously hurt any 
individual, I shall deeply regret it. There is, 
however, so little of interest in Siberia, so little to 
be seen, that it is hardly possible to form an inte- 
resting work on that topic, unless the traveller be 
a botanist or naturalist, or otherwise versed in the 
mysteries of science. Siberia is, in' fact, one im- 
mense wilderness, whose inhabitants are so scatter* 
ed, that five or six hundred miles are passed by the 
traveller without seeing an individual, much less 
any cultivation, or any works of man at all worthy 
of description. The manners, customs, and dress 
of most of the inhabitants are the same. The seve- 
rity of the climate is in most places co-equal, and, 
in general, productive of the same results. The 
tnatter of interest is to be compressed in a small 
space ; and all that I may be said to have done, 
may consist in the fact of showing others, that man 
may go where he chooses, as long as his conduct 
corresponds with his movements^ and that he may, 
fearlessly and alone, as safely trust himself in the 
hands of savages, as with his own friends. I do 
not say the same thing for a party of travellers : I 
adhere^to my idea stated at the commencement, and 
I think I should often have not only been without 
food, but have run the chance of being starved, 
had I been accompanied by only two or three 
attendants more than I had. 

870 C0NCLU4II0N. 

If thift narratiTe of my journey shaQ have th» 
least befieficial eflTect in any way — if it proye ef 
the least service in guiding the future traveller, 
and better preparing liiin for the evils incident to a 
jouvney of the kind, I shall beg^tifiedy and con- 
sider my time as not thrown away. Experience 
has taught me many things I knew not* and which 
at first view may appear firivolous ; but I am not 
one of those who insist on the necessity qf using 
great foresight— that foresight has a tendency to 
beget timidity or distrust. In my apprehension, 
he is the wisest and most successful traveller, who 
goes at once into his journey, dependent only upon 
the reception which the ignorant and brutal will 
give him ; and not the traveller who relies upon a 
well-lined purse. I feel convinced that compassioif 
16 the leading characteristic of those who are termed 
barbarians; and that man, in a state of imture, will 
freely give to the distressed that bread which he 
would not sell for money. I am confident that man 
is really humane, and that he gives more from the 
dictates of a good heart, than from ostentation. I 
have rec(^ved food from a family who were almost 
in a starving state ; and am therefore justified by 
gpratefnl experience in affirming, that those people 
who are the most ignorant and uncivilized, are the 
most hospitable and friendly to their fellows. 

Should my readers concur with me in this opinion, 


aa 4edaced from the facts I have stated in this 
journal, they will not regret having devoted a few 
boors to its perusal. Their labour will be much 
facilitated by the assistance of the maps annexed 
to this work, which I hope will be found even more 
correct than could have been expected, considering 
the limited means I possessed. I have also, in this 
edition, given a few plates, which I hope wQl be 
fonnd entertaining ; and, with these sentiments, I 
conclude this narration. 



Setting aside the literary demerit of the 
following letter, written from the shores of the 
Frozen Sea, during the winter of 1820-21, and 
addressed to the Secretary and President of the 
Royal Society, instead of to the President and 
Secretary of the same learned body ; I may be 
permitted to observe, that I do not think I erred 
in so addressing my letter, although such fact 
appears to have been, and still is, the principal 
reason why so little notice has been taken of it, as 
not even to entitle me to the forms of office, or 
even to that which* is due from one gentleman to 
another, viz. the acknowledgment of its receipt, 
until extracted by application. 
. When I wrote the letter, the late venerable Pre- 
sident, Sir Joseph Banks, was numbered with the 
dead. The fact of the chair being vacant, and 
I abroad, without the possibility of knowing what 



was doing in England regarding a successor to so 

great a man, will, I am certain, convince the public^ 

if not the scientific Sir Humphrey Davy, that I 

could never have intended any disrespect to 

president or secretary, much less to any other 

individual inpmber of the Royal Society ; with not 

one of whom I was personally acquainted. It was 

not only impossible for me to have divined upon 

whom so honourable an office would have devolved, 

but it appears that the learned body in general 

seem to have had some doubt as to the most proper 

person to succeed Sir Joseph Banks : to remedy 

such a loss was not only difficult, but impossible ; 

else, why was the chair so long vacant? In short, 

I addressed my letter as giving an opinion or 

information to the leanied body in general ; and 

neither studied compliments nor disrespect to 

president or secretary. 

It was my intention to have taken no notice of 
the sOence of the executive of the Royal Society, 
or of their ignorance of the forms of good breeding ; 
I was unvrilUng to think of a body, as I do think 
of the executive of that body, conscious that not 
three of the Fellows were aware of the treatment 
I had received. One of them, however, with whom 
I have become acquainted very recently, recom- 
mended my writing to Sir H. Davy, demanding 
particulars as to the receiptof my tetter, &c« ; and. 


ID the event of my not being satisfied, to lay it before 
the public. That friend's advice I followed, and 
accordingly addressed to the president the follow- 
ing letter : — 

** Sir, — From Nishney Kolymsk I had the 
honour of addressing a letter to the Secretary and 
President of tiie Boyal Society ; the letter bearing 
date January, 1831. Not having been made 
officially acquainted whether such letter has been 
received or not, I beg to make inquiry of you, as 
the President of the Royal Society ; and I further 
beg to know, in the event of its having been received, 
what has become of it, and what reception it has 
met with. 

** The letter having been written in reply to a 
book or paper from the pen of the late Captain 
Bumey, which was read before the Royal Society, 
will, I am certain, have induced that learned body 
to grant the same indulgence to my letter as to 
that of the late Captain; if only in consideration of 
the interesting subject to which it referred, viz. the 
solution of the problem as regarded a junction of 
the continents of Asia and America. 

** You will further oblige me, by stating the 
period at which my letter appears to have reached 
the Royal Society. 

*' I have the honour to be. See. &c." 

" To Sir H. Dayj, Frerident R. S." 

T 3 


To the above I received the followiog reply from 
Mr. Lee, the Assistant Secretary. 

'' SiJft, — I am directed by the President of the 
Royal Society to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter, and to inform you that the paper to which 
you allude, dated 10th January, 1821, and ad- 
dressed to the Secretary and President of the 
Royal Society, has also been received, and wUlbe 
returned to you, on your applying for the same, or 
to any person producing an order signed by you 
for that purpose. 

" I have the honour to be, &c. 
" S. Lee, Ass. Sec." 

The above produced the following from me to 
Mr. Lee. 

" Sir,— ^I have received your letter, ¥rritten by 
directions of the President of the Royal Society. 
You will deliver to the bearer my letter from the 
Kolyma, bearing date January, 1821, as also my 
letter touching the fair of the Tchuktchi. Ton 
will at the same time acquaint Sir H. Davy, that 
my request to be informed at what period my let- 
ters were received by the Royal Society has not 
been attended to, and that the nature of his reply 
does not seem to infer that I shall be made 



aeqaainted with such circamstance ; if not, then I 
can only say, I shall have cause to think even 
worse of their conduct towards, sir, 
*' Your obedient servant/ 

** John Dun0as Cochranb." 

Thus ends my correspondence, which only pro- 
duced my letter from the Kokpna; the other, 
touching the fair of the Tchuktohi, has been with- 
held ; but what astonishes me is the determination 
of the President, to keep me unacquainted with 
the precise period at which my letters reached the 
Royal Society. What can account for so appa- 
rently immaterial a circumstance? To those who 
are unacquainted with the formula or routine of 
business by which the affairs of the Royal Society 
are governed^ this will indeed appear a trivial 
circumstance, a neglect, or an oversight on the 
part of the President or Secretary, (the former 
of whom, I hope, is satified with the prece- 
dence I gave him in this letter:) or probably 
no register is kept of the receipt of documents 
of the kind ; be it so ; I excuse it, simply 
remarking that, if true, it is a slovenly way of 
doing business. To enable them, however, to re- 
fresh their memories, I will tell them when they 
did receive such letters ; more than that, I will 


try aad diviae what is tiie reason for thdr t^jomg 
to answer my question. 

May not information be given to a learned body 
in a language intelMgiUe^ yet not complimentary 
or polished t May I not haye started some topics 
in this letter which the learned body thoaght were 
not iireleTaat to the subject? And nmyaot my 
ideas have be^i pirated, and made nse of by some 
Fellow or Fellows of the same learned body ; and 
dbeen introduced into reviews or magazines as the 
prc^uctions of their own brains ? Or did my ideas 
too intmately coincide with some other person's, 
to allow me to meddle with such a subject as 
north-west discoveries? Is there a freedom in 
my language which ill suits the dignity of that 
learned body? Have I been too severe or too 
familiar with one of that body ? and was it respect 
lor him that caused their opposition to me ? Or 
tis it, that a foolish book and m^noir may be 
fffiittted by a Fellow of the Boyal Society^ and 
Kstened to by them in general, but can only be 
replied to by one of their own Fellows, and no 
other pers(m be allowed to criticise so foolish a 
subject? If so, then I congratulate myself upon 
not being an F.B.S. 

Time will show why they refuse to answer my 
question; the President, I am certain, was dU- 

APPXNDIX. ' 219 

phased at my having displaced him, yet snch ifl: 
only the ostensibh reason* My letters arrived in> 
time to be made ufie of by others, and neithev 
Secretary nor President (I beg the latter's pardon) 
can say that they only have seen those letters ; 
therefore the retam of them does not arise from an 
informality of address ; there is a something more 
galling, a discovery which they fear I shall make, 
and which will show how illiberally they have 

I loF^ ago knew my letter had been^ officially 
reeeinedauA privately canvassed ; it was tUs which 
displeased me, and which induced me to inquire 
when it had been received, and what fate it had 
met with. These questions have been simply aa*- 
swered, that I may have the papers back again. 
In the mean time, it is not impossible that, they 
may have been made use of; for they were re- 
ceived by the Royal Society in 1831. Had my 
' letter been returned as informal, I should have 
bowed to iheir decision ; had it been rejected as 
unworthy the attention of so leamed a body, I 
would have been silent ; or had the subject beten 
one without the proceedings of the JRoyal Society, 
I should have been content; this last cannot be> 
unless their own members only are to be allowed 
to address them» for the subject is one that mate- 


rially engaged their attention for a eonsiderabfo 
time. At least two of their members took a most 
active part in the investigation of so interesting a 
subject ; therefore it cannot but appear that what- 
ever credit 1 may be entitled to, I am not to have 
it. To deny this, let either President or Secretary 
aver that none have seen my letters but them. 

These are some of the reasons why I am in- 
duced to bring the subject before the public ; it is 
not the want of courtesy — ^it is not my vanity which 
is piqued — it is not an undue value which I pat 
upon the letter in any of its bearings ;— it is the 
interesting subject, and the importance of it in a 
geographical point of view, which prompt me to 
cope with such a host. I am aware of the difficul- 
ties I have to contend with ; I am aware that I 
shall raise the spirit of a part of the literati ; yet 
still I feel justified, as, in addition to these reasons, 
I am certain that the inferences I drew, and the 
conclusions I arrived at, have proved, and will 
prove, satisfactory. 

That the literary demerit of my letter may have 
sunk far below the horizon of any other document 
attempted to be laid down for the consideration of 
the learned world, is a charge I may plead guilty 
to; but I insist on the unaniiwerable arguments 
contained in it, which I wished to have introduced 


into the first edition of the Narratife of my 
Jonniey through Siberia and Tartary — having, as 
it had and has, a direct reference to the object I 
had in view, when I, alone and on foot, undertook 
the arduous task of traversing Europe and Asia to 
their most north-eastern limits ; there to ascertain, 
by ocular demonstration, whether Asia and America 
did or did not join. This was the object and 
subject of my letter; and, malgri the opinion 
entertained by those who have uncommon sense, I 
now give it to those who have a little common 
sense ; let the latter form their opinion, and decide 
whexher any one can now doubt of the separation 
of the two continents. 

At this moment, when public opinion is so much 
interested in the pending expeditions under Cap- 
tains Parry, Franklin, and Lyon, I feel confident 
the following letter will not be void of interest; as 
little wiU the remarks and ideas which I suggested 
in the New Monthly Magazine for May and June, 
1824, to prove the impracticability of a north-west, 
and the probability of a north-east passage round 
the continent of America ; as also my ideas upon the 
inefiicient means about to be adopted by the land 
expeditions. Requesting the reader's indulgence 
to the letter, and to the ideas which followed 
that letter, assisted by the little map, I will 
begin it. 




** l^dmey KolyoM, lat. 6&33 N. Jan. 10—22, 

1821. Lon. 166^£. 

'* Gbntlbmbn, — 

*^ The universally lamented death of the late 
venerable and patriotic President of the Royal 
Society, Sir Joseph Banks, whom I had sometimes 
taken the liberty of addressing, will account for 
my now troubling you ; and although I am con- 
scious that my limited education exposes me to 
numerous errors and disqualifications, possibly to 
ridicule,* yet am I willing to brave them, in con- 
sideration of the interesting subject to which I 
think it my duty to call your attention ; and in the 
execution of which I hope it will appear that I am 
guided by a wish to serve the public, and neither 
to court applause nor draw forth censure. 

'' It is not often that I am favoured 'with the sight 
of any literary publication ; my wandering life pre- 
cludes the probability of such a treat ; but here, in 
one of the most remote comers of the Russian em- 
pire, and of the universe, where nature defies the 
power of art, where no verdure quickens, and where 
all is frozenly cold, save benevolence and humanity; 
here, in such a place, I have found one, a recent 

* This remark is truly verified. 


one, purportiDg to oome from the peu of Captain 
Barney of the Royal Navy, (a gentleman for whose 
literary talents I have the greatest respect, how- 
ever much I think he has misapplied them in this 
instance,) entitled a ** Chronological History of 
North-Eastem Discoveries, and of the early East- 
ern Navigation of the Russians ;" too modest a title 
for such a complicated production, where war, 
history, and politics alike engage the attention; 
where virtue and vice are alternately seen predomi- 
nant, and where many subjects are treated of in a 
copious manner; indeed, where nothing appears to 
have been neglected, except that to which the title- 
page gives birth. It would be a matter of specu- 
lation to decide upon what subject the Captain has 
most descanted ; among others, I would fain know 
whether he has really had in view the proving that 
no expedition or navigation has been performed 
round the north-east of Asia, and the consequent 
possibility of there being a junction between the 
old and new continents.; or whether he will not 
appear to have been desirous of giving the world a 
fresh account of the lives, deaths, and characters of 
Captains Cooke and Clerke, with a history of the 
Russian and Chinese wars, and a continued and 
irrelevant abuse of the former nation, not omitting 
his dissertation upon the Japanese empire, nor his 
remarks upon American vassalage, independent of 


his astronomical, philosophical, and critical obser- 
vations. All have alternately, and at renewed in- 
tervals, engaged the attention of his fluctuating 
pen ; and, I think, have contributed to hold him 
forward as the most partial and unjust reasoner that 
ever ventured to appear before the public. I shaU 
endeavour, in the following pages, n#t only to 
make good this assertion, and prove that not only 
a navigation has been performed round the north- 
east of Asia, but I will also draw forth a conclusion 
as to the most probable situation of the, so called, 
Shelatskoi Promontory^ 

<< In replying to Captain Burners book, it will 
be impossible for me to follow him through the 
three hundred pages of his heterogeneous matter ; 
it is unnecessary, and my time will not admit of 
it, nor am I so disposed ; I will be content with 
following and combating those arguments which 
relate to the geographical question, and leave to 
others, those which refer to a more abstruse and 
logical definition. 

" It appears to me very extraordinary that Cap- 
tain Burney should, in the second page of his book, 
admit, that there can he no doubts but that, in the 
time of the elder Pliny, distinct information had 
been received by the Romans concerning the north 
coasts of Europe and Asia. Pliny remarks, ' Asia 
is beaten upon by the main ocean in three parts, 


norths east, and south.' If such be the case, to 
what purpose has the Captain written his book ? 
certainly not to prove a negative, for he admits the 
affirmative, as evidently will appear by his extracting 
that part which relates to the Scythian and Tabin 
Promontories. Had 'Captain Bumey confined his 
remarks to the probability of land existing north of 
Behrings's Straits, I should have joined in the 
same opinion ; but I think any attempt to prove 
the probability of a junction of the old and new 
continents ought to be deprecated as wild and 
visionary, and certainly in direct opposition to the 
opinion of his great master. Cook. 

** In refuting the arguments brought forth by 
Captain Bumey, I shall confine myself to the voy- 
ages of Deshnew, Pavlutzki, Stadukin, Shalaurofl^, 
Cook, and Billings, with such remarks as may arise 
therefrom. I select these as the most famed, and 
likely to answer the end proposed ; it is true, they 
are the most material in my favour, but I would 
really select others to invalidate them, could I find 
any. So extraordinary is it, however, and so de- 
serving is it of attention, that, of all the voyages and 
travels related in his book, and which have been 
presented to the public to prove the probability of 
a junction (vide page 2S^) between Asia and Ame- 
rica, not one of them holds out a hope of the kind, 
or expresses a doubt of their separation : on the 


contrary, they aj|l bear in mind the existence of a 
north-east promontory, and their object has been to 
sail round, or, technically speaking, to double it. 

'' In the year 1648, Simon Deshnew sailed, for the 
second time, upon his remarkable expedition, con^ 
sisting of seven vessels ; four were never afterwards 
heard of. What became of the other three vessels ? 
Deshnew simply says, * that after great danger, 
misfortune, and the loss of part of his shipping, he 
reached Tchukotskoi Noss, which extends very far 
into the sea, and is situated between the north-east 
and north, and over against which are two islands, 
whose inhabitants wear artificial teeth; and that the 
coast from that promontory turns, in a circular di- 
rection towards the Anadyr/ Now, if this simple 
statement be not a clear and a descriptive one, I 
know not what can be so termed ; especially if we 
refer to the period of time when it was written, to 
the person who wrote it, and to the circumstances 
which called forth that writing. It was on that 
great Tchukotskoi promontory that Ankudino/Ps 
vessel was wrecked; and it appears, by DeshneVs 
papers, that ' it was the FIRST ORBAT promon- 
tory he reached after leaving the Kolyma;'*^ nor, 
in hb subsequent quarrel with Soliverstoff, does he 
appear to me to prevaricate or contradict ihe first 

* So it wiU appear by a reference to tiie little map* 


assertion ; for although he says, ' there is another 
promontory, called Svatoi Nos^,' he does not, like 
Captain Bnmey, term it a jrrea^on^.* on the contrary » 
he treats it with indifference ; for» when speaking of 
the great promontory, he says, ' Tchukotskoi Noss 
is not the^r^t promontory, but another far morb 
considerable, and very well known to him/ &e. 

** I have been thus particular, because a material 
difference may arise from making use of the word 
6RBAT without authority. 

^* It appears to me from Deshnew's narratives, his 
reasonings and comparisons, that no great promon- 
tory , and YfhichYfe term Shelatsioi Nosa, does exist, 
(neidier is there ;) and that, as there was nothing 
extraordinary in the appearance of the land from the 
river Kolyma to Tchukotskoi Noss, he, of course, 
could not describe any. But even if there be any 
remarkable or intermediate promontory or lands, a 
variety of circumstances might have contributed to 
keep them from his view,— the distance at which he 
kept from the shore, the prevalence of fogs, &c. ; at 
farthest, in short, Deshnew's conduct could only 
be termed careless or inattentive. Deshnew was 
not a seafaring man, quite a sufficient reason ; nay, 
I am of opinion that he would not have described 
East Cape, Tchukotskoi Noss, or *he other mf ny 
particulars, had it not been in defence of the disco- 
very of a koiga, or sand-bank, at the mouth of the 


Anadyr, and of which he was about to be unjustly 
deprived. As to the appellation of Soa-toi Noss, 
Sacred Promontory, it implies nothing, although 
from the time of Deshnew, it appears to have lost 
it, and to have gained that of Shelatskoi Noss. 

* ' Having stated thus much in behalf of Deshnew, 
and having accounted for his silence or negl^ence, 
I will leave him, and draw your attention to the 
ingenious and novel, but untenable, argument of 
Captain Bumey, as relates to shitiki and their use. 
Had he known more of this subject, he would not 
have so boldly asserted what was not, what 13 not, 
and what cannot, be the case ; he would never have 
said that, ' on (iccount of the frequency of being 
inclosed in the Icy Sea, it was customary so to con- 
struct vessels, that they might with eeise be taken 
to pieces, carried to the outer edge of the ice, and 
be there put together againJ This is indeed an 
extraordinary, unauthorised, and ridiculous asser- 
tion of Captain Burney's ; it is a ridiculous mistake, 
fit for him to tell the soldiers. Such was not the 
reason for so constructing shitiki; for they were built 
also at Okotsk and Kamtchatka; they were so built 
from unavoidable necessity, if the want of proper 
materials or of sufficient funds can be so termed. 
No iron was to be had, or the cost of it was too 
great for Icy or Eastern Sea speculators. 

'^ Allowing, however, to Captain Burney the full 


benefit of his iogeoious assertion and argament, as 
relates to the intention for so constructing shitiki, 
I then deny the possUriUty of * so employing them,. 
and of so easily taking them to pieces,* &c. The 
twisted osiers which Captain Barney speaks of, 
were made from the soft green bark and branches 
of trees, applied in a green state ; to unlay which, 
after being once settled in their places, were to 
destroy them. Had this facility of navigating the 
Icy Sea really existed, where no risk was apparent 
or contemplated, we should not have had to deplore 
the loss of so many adventurers ; we should have 
had transmitted to us the result of many voyages, 
and the description of many lands of which we are 
still ignorant ; we should have seen this ingenious 
facility of navigating the Icy Sea not only conti- 
nued, but improved upon, whereas now it is for- 

*' I will go farther still, and allow Captain Bur- 
ney the full measure of his ingenious assertion, of 
the intention, as well as the facility, for so employing 
shitiki; yet, in the case of Deshnew, it will appear 

* Howr comes it that Captain Bumey should have permit- 
ted four of Deshnew's vessels to be no more heard of, when 
the rest of his squadron had such afacility of escaping^ dangers? 
These are, however, such speculative and inventing times, 
that an hermaphrodite vessel is to be sent to the North Pole, 
to go upon land, ice, or water. 



most improbable, if not impossible ; especially if it 
be considered how short is the period allotted for 
a task of the kind. That, in those days, eighty or 
ninety Cossacks (in whose praises the Captain is 
otherwise wonderfully sparing) should unload, un- 
rig, and unbuild three vessels, carry them and their 
contents over an isthmus, or round a promontory^ 
then re-build, re-rig, and re-load them, (annoyed 
and endangered, as they would have been, by a bold 
and active enemy, in the Shelages, who. Captain 
Surney says, lived there during the campaign of 
Pavlutzki,) and resume their voyage in so short a 
period, must appear impossible. The provisions 
for some'months which they carried, their arms and 
ammunition, the masts, saL, and cordage, as well 
as the vessels ; to transport these in so rigid a cli- 
mate, independent of other obstacles, mnst have 
prevented a task of 'the kind being completed ere 
winter had commenced, and prevented a retreat. 
The nature of the climate in the Icy Sea is such^ 
as to render impossible a thing of the kind in a 
general way, and highly improbable, even by way 
of experiment. So much for shitiki and their use, 
as well as their uselessness, for they are no longer 
nsed: some additional reason for supposing that 
the intention for so constructing them was not such 
as described by Captain Burney. 

"There was another dass of vessels, called 


kotches, very frequently used in the Icy Sea, and 
which were built upon the river Lena. I wish to 
inform Captain Bumey, that the word kotche is not 
derived from any peculiarity in the construction or 
in the rigging of the vessel. The word is derived 
from kochevat, to wander, and is rather a Siberian 
appellation, as they were employed in transporting 
new settling or wandering families, and hence 
gained the appellation of hatches. What their 
construction or mode of rigging then was, I am not 
aware; but they were secured ^th iron, sent down 
the Lena to Yakutsk. That Deshnew's vessels 
were ketches, there can be little or no doubt ; for 
the vessels in which he sailed from the Kolyma, he 
had previously broughtfrom the Lena and Indigirka, 
as is related in one of his memorials ; besides, the 
Kolyma could hardly have produced seven vessels 
in so short a period, whether in the shape of ketches 
or shitiki ; the establishment had only existed three 
years, viz. from 1644 to 1647, in the latter of which 
years, Deshnew made his first, but unsuccessful, 

** Muller has translated them kotches, while 
Pallas has said they were vessels. I believe they 
were both correct, for I need not say that a kotche 
is a vessel, and a vessel maybe a kotche; whereas 
both would have been wrong, had they translated 
shitiki. I will conclude with saying that, if ever 

V 2 

^ i 


Deshnew did reach Tchukotstoi Noss with the 
vessels in which he sailed from the Kolyma, (and 
which, strange to say, has not been doubted,) that 
he coald only have so done by sailing round the 
north-east of Asia; and thus there can be no reason 
for doubting the testimony of Deshnew. 

*' To strengthen the opinion that Deshnew did 
double the celebrated Tchukotskoi promontory, I 
will, out of chronological order, quote the voyage 
of Captain Cook, a voyage which Captain Bumey 
bore a part in, and I think it will serve to destroy 
the hypothesis of the latter gentleman, of the pro- 
bable junction of the two continents, vide page 300. 
Upon referring to the situation of the Discovery, 
when off Icy and North Capes, it appears, the for- 
mer bore south-south-east true, and no land visible 
north or east of it ; the latter bore west-half-north 
by compass, no land being visible north of it, 
although the horizon in that quarter was pretty 
clear, — a circumstance which induced Captain 
Cook to say, that from Cape North, ' he thoaght 
the land would be found to take a very westerly 
direction ;' and so it will, in the event of no great* 
promontory existing. Such I take to be the case, 
after an impartial review of the voyages under con- 
sideration. I think the land from Cape North will 

* By looking at the actual survey of the north-east of Asia^ 
90 great promontory will be apparent. 


be foand to take a very westerly direction, to a 
promontory not far distant ; which promontory and 
the island of Sabedei are the extremes of a spacious 
bay, which Shalauroff visited,* but which Deshnew 
might have passed without noticing or even seeing. 
Although Captain Cook was of opinion there is 
land north of Behring^s Straits, he did not suppose 
such land to be a continuation of Asia or America ; 
on the contrary, from judging by his remarks, he 
evidently thought Icy and North Capes the north- 
west and north-east boundaries of their respective 

** The next voyage which I will select for your 
attention, was performed by one Taras Stadukin, a 
great favourite of Captain Burney's, as supporting 
an hypothesis he declares not' to have formed; 
but to prove the probability of which, he presented 
a memoir to the Royal Society, and wrote a book. 
It is necessary to inform you, that the account is 
not derived from Stadukin, but from one Nikiphor 
Malgir, of. notorious memory, as will hereafter 
appear. Malgir affirmed, that a merchant, named 
Taras Stadukin, did, many years before, relate to 
him, ' that he sailed in a katche, with ninety men, 
from the Kolyma, to make a discovery concerning 
the Great Cape of the Tchuktchi;f but that not 

* Thii is literally true. f I. e. Tchakotskoi Noss. 


being able to doable it, they had crossed over on 
foot, where they built other vessels J Captain Bur- 
ney says, this deposition ' is the most deserving of 
attention/ and yet, ere he can make it of service in 
support of the new hypothesis, he is obliged to 
convert a kotcfie into a shitiki, take that shitiki to 
pieces, carry it and contents over an isthmus, put 
it together again^ proceed upon his voyage, and not 
aUow him to build other vessels 9 as this favourite 
deposition affirms. Captain Bumey first tears the 
deposition to pieces in its most material parts, 
imitates another, like a true sea voyager, vide page 
110, and then terms it a circumstantially described 
voyage of Stadukin's, as related by Malgir, What 
does it discover? What does it describe? What, at 
most, does it amount to? Merely that one Malgir 
afiSrmed, that one Stadukin had told him, many years 
before, that he had sailed, in a kotche, from the 
Kolyma to a certain place, wher/B he left her, took 
a walk across a neck of land, built another vessel, 
and resumed his voyage. This is the sum of Una 
favourite deposition in behalf of a name fruitful in 
enterprise. And yet Captain Bumey changes the 
most material parts of it> that he may the more 
consistently take the same liberty with the memorials 
and documents of Deshnew ; in short. Captain 
Bumey has made two voyages xv^on paper, which 
were never performed npon water. 

▲ppfiNDix. 296 

** It is, indeedy a novel and extraordinary mode 
of reasoning, that because one man does relate an 
intermediate circamstance, which might have hap- 
pened upon his voyage of discovery, he alone is to 
be believedy to the prejudice of another man, be- 
cause that other man does not relate an interme- 
diate circumstance, which might not have happened 
to him on his voyage of discovery ; this is indeed 
absurd reasoning and weak argument for a junction 
of Asia and America. 

' * I am so far from doubting the testimony of Desh- 
new, that I am involuntarily compelled to entirely 
discredit the affidavit of Malgir ; but for a better 
reason than that assigned by Captain Burney for 
doubting Deshnew and Busch. Malgir affirmed, 
that Taras Stadukin did, many years before, relate 
to him so and so. Now this favourite deposition 
was made in 1710, only two years after the voyage 
was performed; for the Kurile Isles became known 
from it, and they were discovered in 1708; 
independent of the time necessary for Stadukin to 
have returned to the river Lena, to have related 
his adventures, and the time necessary for Malgir 
to have gone to Yakutsk to make his affidavit. 
Many is a strong word ; and supposing that Sta- 
dukin, had, after his voyage, flown to the river 
Lena, and that Malgir, after hearing the news, had 
imitated him, and taken his airy flight to Yakutsk, 


still this hearsay testimony could only hate been 
delivered to him the year before^ viz. in 1709, at 
which period Taras Stadnkin was no doubt alive,* 
that is, if he performed the voyage the year before. 
" It is related that Stadnkin crossed a narrow 
isthmus, but where that narrow isthmus is, it is 
diflScult to say; yet will I endeavour to explain the 
riddle. Here, at Nishney Kolymsk, is a tradition, 
and I agree with Captain Bumey, that traditions 
ought not to be disregarded, of a Stadnkin having 
sailed in a kotche from the Kolyma up the Great 
Aniuy river ; in that river there is an isthmus, or 
shallow sand-bank, over which the kotche could 
not sail; she was cut into two parts, floated over, 
and put together again ; he continued his voyage 
until he reached the Anadyr mountains^ which he 
crossed on foot, built another vessel at Anadyrsk, 
and then sailed upon his voyage to the Tchukotskoi 
Cape, Whether this tradition, which is still fresh 
here, refers to Taras Stadukin, I know not; I 
believe not; I think it refers to the voyage of 
Michael Stadukin, who had in vain attempted to 
go by sea during the life of Deshnew, and was 
therefore compelled to venture over the chain of 
mountains then unknown, and for the particulars 


* I mention this, to ask why Stadukin was not summoned 
instead of Mailer? 


of which voyage I refer to a page 879 of a note ia 
Coxe.* These circumstances coincide in general. 
Malgir asserting that a Stadnkin related the tale 
many years before, confirms me in opinion that he 
allnded to Michael, and not to Taras, and that his 
mistake arose from the concomitant circumstance 
of Taras Stadukin having, one or two years before, 
discovered the Kurile Isles. 

*' It may be said that this argument of mine is 
improbable, as Deshnew's expedition took place in 
1648, and that the affidavit was made in 1710 ; 
but I reply, no ; for I have incontestable proof that 
Malgir, at that time, must have been a very old 
man; for, in page 88 of Captain Burney's book, I 
find he favours us with a deposition of some time 
between the years 1667 and 1675, alias thirty-five 
or forty-three years before the period in which he 
made this favourite deposition — he had seen so and 
so in sailing from the Lena. ^ Nor is this all, for 
Malgir, fond of relating the adventures of others, 
gives us another hearsay testimony of Jacob Wiat- 
kas. Besides, it does not follow that to recount the 
exploits of Michael Stadukin, in his trip across an 
isthmus, and which took place in 1649, according 
to Deshnew — I say it does not follow that Malgir 
was alive, although no doubt he was. Malgir says, 

* Indeed the like voyage b iiodced at page ^b of Captain 
Barney's book. 


Stadukin related to him the circiimBtance manj 
years before, and which was, no doubt, many years 
after the fact had taken place ; for, in 1654, there is 
a record of Stadukin being still alive at Anadyrsk. 
It cannot, then, but appear that Malg^ meant 
Michael, and not Taras, Stadukin. Whoever it 
was, his memory must have deceived him. Thus, 
then, the case stands : the very doubtful^ hearsay ^ 
and contradictory affidavit of Malgir, of voyages 
he never bore a part in, is to be put in competition 
with the original documents and memorials of 
Deshnew, relating to a voyage, which he decidedly 
did perform in some way or other : — ^weak argument 
for a continental junction. 

** It also appears, by this favourite deposition, 
that Taras Stadukin had Tchukotskoi Noss for his 
object, and not Shelatsioi Noss; the shortest and 
safest way to which was by the Aniuy and Anadyr 
rivers. As to the insinuatioii of Captain Barney, 
that Taras Stadukin performed his feat over She- 
latskoi Noss, from a knowledge that Deshnew had 
made his way into the Eastern Ocean in the same 
manner, it is only deserving of so much attention, 
as to remind Captain Bumey, that Deshnew sailed 
in 1648, and his friend Taras in 1708, or sixty 
years after ; independent of the assertion of Cap- 
tain Bumey, in another part of his book, that * no 
knowledge was entertained of Deshnew^s expedition 

APPfiNDIX. 399 

and stmcess, there or elsewhere ;' and yet Taras 
Stadukin acted from a prior knowledge. This 
Irish requires some explanation. It would have 
been nearer the truth had Captain Bumey omitted 
the name of Deshnew, and said that, no doubt, 
Taras Stadukip adopted this mode of proceeding, 
from a knowledge that his kinsman had already 
succeeded in the same manner, although I deny 
that such proceeding was over Shelatskoi Noss 
Isthmus (if such there be), but to have been over 
the Great Aniuy Isthmus, 

*' I will now quit these gentlemen, and draw your 
attention to a journey performed round and through 
the country of the Tchuktchi, by Major Pavlutski; 
it is circumstantially described, and deserving of 
much attention. I will select those parts of it only 
which refer to geography ; I will divide his journey 
into seven parts, and to each part there shall be a 
separate description ; and I will draw a probable 
conclusion of the journey he did actually perform. 
'* On the 12th of March he left Anadyrsk ; his 
route lay to the north-east and east, to the source 
of the river Tcherma ; he reached that source on 
the 23d of March (as will appear by a back calcu- 
lation) ; from .thence he marched due north sixty 
days, and reached the Icy Sea near a considerable 
river ; that was on the 23d of May. He after- 
wards marched along the Icy Sea coast for fifteen 



days ; at times so far from the land, that the mouths 
of the rivers were barely distinguishable ; done, no 
doubt, to shorten his journey, instead of going 
round the bays. From the 7th of June, when he 
arrived, until the 15th, he halted, when he again 
resumed his journey along the Icy Sea coast for 
fifteen days more, and halted on the 30th of June, 
(near the easternmost of two rivers, which he had 
passed within one day's journey of each other,) until 
the 3d of July, when he attempted to cross the 
promontory ; but it was not until the I4th of July 
that he was enabled to march from the western to 
the eastern coast, (having high mountains to climb, 
it was ten days before he reached the latter, the 
country of the Shelages being on his left, — viz. on 
the 24th of July,) when Pavlutzki embarked part 
of his people in baidares, and, with the rest, con- 
tinued his march along the sea-coast, in a south- 
east direction ; when, in seven days, on the 1st of 
August, he came to the mouth of a river ; and, in 
twelve days more, the 13th of August, to the 
mouth of another, beyond which, at the distance of 
ten versts (six miles), there ran into the sea, far 
towards the east, a head of land which, at the 
beginning, was mountainous; but, gradually di- 
minishing, ended in a plane, the extent of which 
could not be seen. Here Pavlutzki ceased to 
follow the sea-coast, and turned inland towards the 


Anadyr, reaching the fortress in seventy days, or 
on the 21st of October. 

** This is the amount of the information deprived 
from Pavlutzki's journal ; and, before I state the 
courses and distances I think he actually performed, 
it may be necessary to inform you, that he was 
provided with rein-deer in considerable quantities, 
which answered the purposes of carrying his arms, 
ammunition, and baggage, at well as his provisions, 
and ultimately also served for food. The Tchuktchi 
people, when they travel with laden rein-deer ^ do 
not go more than eight or ten versts a-day, equal 
to four and a half, or six, miles. They are three 
and four months upon their journey hither from the 
Bay of Saint Lawrencie, although the distance does 
not exceed eight or nine hundred versts (four hun- 
dred and sixty, or five hundred and twenty, miles). 
Billings was six months. Pavlutzki tells us, that 
upon his first journey, he did not go more than ten 
versts, or six miles, a-day, halting at times. I shall 
therefore venture to admit his having gone hut eight 
versts a-day, or four miles and a Half, in a direct 
line, when in a mountainous country ; and ten versts, 
or six miles a-day, when on the Icy and Eastern Sea 
coast, where he would be much assisted. Upon his 
return to Anadyr, I shall allow him also eight versts 
a-day, more than which he can hardly be expected 
to have gone ; uncertain of the proper or direct 


route, wearied and worn out as his people must 
have been, after a long, laborious, and perilous 
campaigD, and exposed to the heavy falls of snow 
which the months of September and October must 
have produced in such a latitude. 

" Pavlutzki'sjffr^f route lay between north-east 
and east — say east-north-east, twelve days, or fifty- 
four miles ; his second route lay due north, sixty 
days, or two hundred and seventy miles; his third 
route east, thirty days, or one hundred and seventy 
miles ; his fourth route east-south-east, ten days, or 
forty-five miles ; his jfifth route south-east, seven 
days, or forty- two miles ; his sixth route south-east, 
twelve days, or seventy- two miles ; and his seventh 
route a direct line to the Anadyr fortress, whence he 
had departed, a distance which should not exceed 
seven hundred versts, or four hundred miles, to be 
made in seventy days. 

** Having thus given an idea of the courses and 
distances of Pavlutzki's march, I will draw your 
attention to the places he arrived and halted at, 
and which are, in a manner, noticed in his journal. 

** His first route carried him to the source of the 
Tcherma, a river well known ; his second route to 
the Icy Sea, near to a considerable river, known 
here by the name of the Bolchoi Reka, and situ- 
ated a little to the east of Cape Bar^nov Kamen ; 
his third route carried him beyond the eastern- 


most of two rivers^ which, I suppose, are the rivulets 
seen by Shalauroff, in Tchaon Bay, (for rivulets 
they would only appear in August and September 
to Shalauroffy although in June and the beginning 
of July, they might otherwise appear to Pavlutzki,''^) 
and the Kvata and Packla of BUlings. Pavlutzki's 
fourth journey carried him to a place where he 
procured baidares, consequently to a place where 
there were inhabitants. That place I take to have 
been the Cape North of Cook^f and the Karpa or 
Ekakta of Billings. It is there that the last of the 
Eastern-SeaTchuktchi are said to reside, and where 
there is a fishing-place, according to Captain Bil- 
lings ; it is there, also, that Cook saw a body of 
water, and which may serve as a sheltering place 
for fishermen and their boats. Pavlutzki's fifth 
route carried him to a river, which I take to have 
been the Amgooyan of Billings ; and his sixth 
route carried him to another river, which I take to 
have been the Vouchervaren of the same person. 
The head of land beyond it, I consider is the ci^e 
which induced Behring to turn back, and the Bay 
of Klashenie of Billings, or near Bumey's Isle of 
Cook. These particulars strikingly confirm each 

* This, I presume, is natural ; people in vessels may deem 
a body of water a rivulet, which to an army would appear as 
a river. 

t Or more properly Cape Kozmin of Baron WrangeL 
See the Map. 


other, as to an island off Cape North ;* there is 
said to be one upon which theTchuktchi preserved 
their rein-deer during the season of hostilities. 

'* I will now describe the route laid down in the 
map prefixed to Captain Burney's book* I know 
not who is or was the author of it ; but of the map 
itself, I will prove that absurdity and incorrectness 
are its prominent features, and, as such, undeserving 
of any other attention than to expose it. 

'* It has been already said, that Pavlutzki, during 
the Jirst twelve days, marched between north-east 
and east, and, in the following sixty days, due 
north, and yet this sapient map gives Pavlutzki to 
have gone nearly the same distance during the 
twelve as during the sixty days, hence no difficulty 
in accounting for a north-north-west, instead of a 
north course. Upon the Icy Sea doast, Pavlutzki 
is represented as having gone, in thirty days only 
about one hundred and twenty-five miles, or four 
and a-half a-day ; while, in the following ten days, 
and when he had high mountains to climb, he is 
enabled to have gone about one hundred and forty- 
three miles, or fourteen miles a-day. If Pavlutzki 
crossed the country of the Tchuktchi in ten days, 
in defiance of an active enemy and a mountainous 

* Even Captain Cook supposed there was an island off 
Cape North. See page 247 of Captsun Barney's book. 


Gountry, whence arises the justness, or propriety , 
or even necessity, of Captain Bnmey's assertion, 
that * Pavlutski did not cross at a narrow part 
of the Tchukotski country V Surely fifty or sixty 
miles cannot be termed a loide part, and more he 
could not have gone in ten days. The author of 
that map had done better to have allowed four and 
a quarter miles a-day when traversing the high 
mountains, and fourteen miles a-day when on the 
Icy Sea coast ; this at least would have been more 
reasonable, and still in great error;, such, however, 
would have left a narrow isthmus; a junction with 
America was the object, and Captain Bumey's 
map suited best. Wide or narrow, Pavlutzki 
crossed, leaving the country of the Shelages upon 
his left, (mentioned, no doubt, to insinuate a large 
tract of country being there,) and he reached a 
place where he procured baidares ; that place we 
agree in supposing to have been the Cape North of 
Cook.* From thence this map represents his going 

* When this letter was written to the Royal Society, I did 
suppose Pavlutzki to have crossed to Cape North of Cook ; 
now-a^ays, and with the chart of the survey of north-east 
Asia, I think otherwise : I think Pftvlutzki must have crossed 
to Cape Kuzmin, the southern point of which is distant from 
Cape North ninety miles, to he divided between the two 
following journeys, which occupied nineteen days' time ; no 
great increase, when it is considered they were supplied with 



south-east one hundred and fifty mUes in sa^efi dajrs^ 
or twenty-one miles per day ; and yet, daring the 
following twelve days, and with the same assistance, 
he can only go one hundred and thirty, or eleven 
miles a-day. Why this difference, I would ask? 
Lastly, to enable Pavlutzki to reach Anadyrsk by 
the 21st of October, he went, without halting, five 
hundred and seventy miles in seventy days, or 
more than eight miles per day ; an impossibility, 
with an army such as I have described, in such a 
desolate country.* 

** I would ask the author of that map what an 
European army can do, in a fine country, and in 
possession of every thing that is requisite to nourish 
them ? I am no soldier, but I should think twelve 
or fifteen miles in continuation for seventy days to 
be a regular march, while twenty qr twenty-five 

biddam, and conseqoeiitly might have been able to go four 
or five miles a-day extra. 

* It may not be amiss for the reader to measure the dis- 
tance between Gape North and the point whence Pavlutzki 
turned inland towards the Anadyr, and the south-east march 
of two hundred and eighty miles along the coast, according 
to Gaptun Bumey, which two hundred and eighty^ added 
to the distance between Gapes North and. Kuzmin, where 
Pavlutzki must have crossed, will make three hundred and 
seventy miles, or twenty miles a^y ; which could not have 
been accomplished, as part of his army marched along the 

APPfiNDlX. 307 

would constitnte a forced march, especially if con- 
tinued for the same period. In this country, a 
different calculation must be resorted to; the nature 
of the climate, the depth of the snow, the lofty and 
barren mountains, the weight of their arms, clothing, 
S&c. are alone obstacles to prevent the possibility 
of a thing of the kind, as passing with an army 
more than five or six miles per day direct, in a long 
succession of months. I also remark in the map, 
which is a disgrace to such a book as that coming 
from the pen of Captain Burney, that Pavlutzki is 
represented as having reached Tchukotskoi Noss ; 
had such been the case, Pavlutzki would never 
have seen land running far into the sea towards 
the EAST, as his journal expresses ; but he would 
have seen it turning to the south-west and west- 
south-west towards the Anadyr; had Pavlutzki 
reached Tchukotskoi Noss, he would never have 
turned inland towards the Anadyr^ but he would 
have continued his voyage along the sea-coast, 
provided as he was with baidares. 

''It is apparent that Pavlutzki saw the land 
which induced Behring to turn back ; a land which 
he did not reach, for he could not see its extent to 
the east, while Behring could not see its extent to 
the west* I think there can be no doubt that such 
place is the Bay of Klashenie of Billings, in about 
the latitude of 67" 18^ N., or about twelve or 

X 2 


fifteen miles south of the point where Pavlutzki 
arrived at, which, in that case, would have been to 
the latitude 07*" 33^' N., eighty-three miles south 
of Cape North, or one hundred and seventeen 
miles south-east of it ; a distance which Pavlutzki 
might with facility have reached in nineteen days, 
when travelling with baidares, being only six miles 
a- day : he might have gone more ; but he could 
never have reached TchukotskoiNoss, (independent 
of the reasons I have before given, as the seeing 
of land to the east,) which is one hundred and 
seventy-one south, and two hundred and forty-two 
distant from Cape North, or thirteen miles per 

'' Here it may not be improper to ask Captain 
Bumey, why he has accused Captain Billings of 
placing an island off the Bay of Klashenie to cor- 
respond with the Cape North of Cook ? There is 
a difference of about eighty miles in the latitude of 
the two places, vide page 194. Does Captain 
Burney forget the island bearing his own name, in 
lat. 67** 46" N. ? or does he forget that the land to 
the southward of it forms like an island, as asserted 
by Captain Cook, in his journal of September 2d, 
1778? Whether the Bay of Klashenie is near 
Burney's Isle, or nearer to the apparent isle to 
the southward, is to me difficult to decide. 


When Billings, in a baidare, visited the Bay of 
.Klashenie, the land might have formed like an 
island; but he never could have supposed that bay 
to have been Cape North ; for he has expressly 
placed the latter near to the river Ekakta. This 
attack of the Captain's, as are several upon deceased 
individuals, was unnecessary, and more than the 
simple title of his book justified. Captain Burney 
should recollect that comparisons a^e odious,-*- 
that drawn by him between Captain Billings and 
Ledyard very much so.* Had Captain Burney 
known the real characters of those two men, he 
would have remained silent, and not have unjustly 
censured the one, nor unmeritedly have extolled 
the other. It will do no good to discuss upon their 
merits or demerits, both were unfortunate, and 
there I leave them, to draw your attention to the 
voyages of the enterprising Shalauroff, who, in 
my opinion, certamly reached Shelatskoi Noss, 
and confirms the practicability of a passage, 
although attended with difficulty and danger, vide 
page 390 of Coxe's Discoveries. 

** Shalauroff stood to the north-east to double 
Shelatskoi Noss, but before he reached the islands 

* Captain Buraey's practica and precept are widely dif- 
ferent, vide page 280, when speaking of subordination in the 
case of this same Ledyard. 



near itf* he was retarded by contrajry winds, end, 
on account of the advanced season, obliged to seek 
for a wintering place ; he accordingly sailed south 
into a large open bay, which, his journal says, is on 
the west side of the Noss, and formed by it and the 
island of Sabedei. In that bay he could not 
winter, no fish nor wood being to be procured, 
although he discovered two rivulets. Shalauroff 
got out of the bay, and round the island of 
Sabedei, when he fastened his vessel to a body of 
ice, and was carried by a current west-south-west 
five versts, or near three miles per hour; hence I 
infer the run of the coast from the Kolyma to 
Sabedei to bie east-north-east and west-south-west. 
On the second day after leaving the island of 
Sabedei, he saw far to the north-east by north f a 
mountain ; in other words, he saw the land he had 
left, viz. Shelatskoi Noss. Upon the fourth day, 
he regained the Kolyma, determined to again 
make the attempt ; which, alas ! he did, never to 

** I agree with the learned Mr. Coxe in doubt- 
ing whether Shelatskoi Noss extends so far to the 

* Let the reader look at the map for the islands near it, as 
proved to exist by the late survey of that part under the 
orders of Baron Wrangel. 

t This b by compass, or N. E. } E. true. 


&orA as placed in ShalauroflTs cbart, for the able 
reasons given by that gentleman; but I am of 
opinion that the general outline and form of the 
coast will be fonnd perfectly correct.* The ac- 
counts of Pavlutzki and Shalauroff correspond. 
The river whence the former crossed to the 
Eastern Sea must necessarily be in nearly the 
same latitude as the place to which he came out 
at» and which we suppose was Cape North ; that 
liver must therefore have been in Tchaon bay; 
which is the name given to Shalauroff's bay, and 
that river, according to Billings and Shalauroff, 
cannot be far distant from Shelatskoi Noss. The 
accounts of the two latter gentlemen also corre- 
spond, and prove the existence of a promontory 
from which Billings could not have been far distant. 
It appears by Billings' map that the Karpa 
and Ekakta rivers run into the ocean east of the 
Noss, while the> Packla and Kvata enter die 
Icy Sea west of the Noss. It also appears that 
when Billings was on the Karpa^ he was fifty-one 
miles from the Eojttern Sea ; and only seventy-four 
miles from the Icy Sea when on the Kvata. It 

* Let the map in this book, copied from actual survey, be 
compared with that in Mr. Goxe^s, and who can then doubt 
but that Shalauroff reached Shehitskoi Noss, and was in tha 
act of letting round it, when the wind failed him ? 


may, therefore, be admitted, that the promoiitoiy 
Ues between those two rivers, and woald not be far 
to the west of north from him ; for, when Billings 
was on the Kvata, he was in his most northern 
situation ; as his rente changed from north-west 
to west and south-west, being a right angle to 
his former general route, and demonstrating that 
it was there the adverse ridges or chains of moun- 
tains had united, and that, not far distant from 
their junction, they must terminate in a dtte north 
direction, that being the central point between 
north-west and north-east, the courses of the 
adverse ridges. 

** I should calculate the Noss, when Billings 
was on the Kvata, and, at the junction of the 
ridges, to have been as far distant as it was to the 
Eastern or Icy Seas; fifty-one miles added to 
seventy-four will give one hundred and twenty-five 
miles, the half of which is sixty-two miles and a 
half, the distance I take the Noss to have been 
from him due north, which is also about the same 
distance which he journeyed along the valleys of the 
Eastern Sea coast. That the run of the mountains 
on the eastern coast is north-west and south-east, 
we have the testimonies of Cook, Pavlutzki, 
Billings, and Behring. 

''.Admitting the longitude of Cape North to be, 
as stated by Cook, ISl"" east, I should infer that 


of Shelatskoi Noss to be about ITS'* or 176<* E., 
and in latitude about 70« 2ff, or 70» SCT N. To 
support this idea of mine respecting the latitude 
and longitude of Shelatskoi Noss, (as derived from 
the voyages of Billings and Shalauroff, and sup- 
ported by circumstantial evidence,) let us resort to 
another mode of arguing, equally corroborative. 
The longitude of Cape North is 181* east, that of 
Cape Baranov Kamen is 169^ east ; the difference 
is 12*, or about 240 miles of longitude, while 
there are only 37 miles difference of latitude; the 
inference, then, is, that there cannot be any very 
northern land between them, especially supported 
as this argument is, when the distance from the 
island of Sabedei to Baranov Kamen is deducted 
as having been traversed by Shalauroff. 

'' Let us, however, have recourse to another 
mode of calculating the latitude and longitude of 
Shelatskoi Noss ; let us refer to the well-known 
direction of the land from Baranov Kamen to the 
east, and the equally well-known course of the 
mountains, and direction of the coast on the 
eastern shore ; the former is east-north-east and 
west-south-west by compass, the latter north-west 
and south-east; although, beyond Cape North, 
Captain Cook was of opinion that the land 
would be found to take a very westerly direction. 
Let a line be drawn from Baranov Kamen, latitude 


W 98", longitude 109*" east, to the ea«t^nortb-ea5t, 
and let aikother line be drawn from Cape North, 
latitude 68" 5ff, longitude 181* east, to the north- 
west by west, and, at the point of interMection, 
place Skelatatai Nose ; it cannot far err ; it will 
be in a middle longitude of 175** or 176^ east — as 
it willy also, if placed due north of the mountain 
junction on the Kvata — as it will, if ShalauroflTs 
chart be correct — and as it will, also, in the 
event of Deshnew having sailed round ; because, 
in the last case, it will not form any remarkabb 
appearance, or promontory, sufficient to draw 
forth the descriptive powers of an unlettered, but 
enterprising, Cossack. As to its formation, we 
have nothing to judge by, except the undoubted 
existence of a large bay to the west of it, and the 
run of the land due north from the eastern shore 
of that bay for a considerable distance, according 
to Shalauroff's chart, and as asserted by- Pav^ 
lutzki ; and this will be true if the south-east part 
of the bay is in near the same latitude as Ctqfe 
North. Pavlutzki could not have seen eighty or 
ninety miles, and he therefore crossed the promon- 
tory, uncertain how far the land might go to the 
north; or he knew it was a promontory, and 
therefore unnecessary to be travelled round at a 
gpreat loss of time, when he could and did cross it 
in ten days. 


'' Sliould the situation of Shelatskoi Noss be 
found as I have ventured to predict,* I will then 
maintain that Deshnew was not bound to notice it 
as a remarkable promontory ; for/ allowing him a 
commop course of sailing, and for him to have kept 
a common, offing from the shore, he could only have 
xhanged his course ybtcr points, and impossible to 
have jcbanged it^ve points. Let a chart be formed, 
and Shelatskoi Noss be placed as I have represented, 
and no promontory will be apparent, at least not 
such a one as to strike the attention of a trading 
Cossack ; but to double the Tchukoiskoi Nose the 
case is very different; the course must be changed 
from south-east to south, south-west, west, and 
even to north-west, to enable a vessel to ketep 
sight of the land. Here is indeed too remarkable a 
difference to be passed in silence, even by the most 
illiterate, from a south-east to a north-west, half 
the compass ; this will account for the remarkable, 
or, as it is termed, the * simple,' description of 
Tchukotskoi Cape by Deshnew, who says, ' it 
turns in a circular direction towards the Auadyr,f ' 
independent of the necessity for describing it in 
defence of the discovery of the korga, or sand-bank, 
at the mouth of the Anadyr. 

* The map will show I predicted most successfully. 
t Sorely such a cbaDge of courses ean only be termed 


'' The currents will next occupy a little of your 
attention; and although they do not argue much, 
yet what little ihey do argue, is in favour of a 
clear, open, and extensive sea to the north-east erf* 
the Kolyma, and a near termination of the con- 
tinent of Asia, in that direction, from the isle of 
Sabedei. Although a current of two or three miles 
an hour be experienced in the narrow straits of 
Behring, it does not follow that such current would 
be felt in the wide expanse to the north, at a dis- 
tance of four hundred miles of latitude. It also 
appears that the currents are periodical ; but were 
such not the case, the period had gone by, the ice 
and snow had done melting, the sun had withdrawn 
its power, and the waters of the south were not 
necessary to fill up the voids which are caused in 
the north by exhalations or otherwise. I am, 
however, of opinion, that the currents are generally 
produced by the action of the wind upon shallow 
waters ; in other words, that whatever way the wind 
blows, that way the current goes. Cook had always 
light airs when he tried for a current and found 
none, and it is not a little extraordinary, that when 
the north-west gale set in, the current was never 
tried for.* 

* I am aware of the difference in trying for a current in a 
calm and during a strong breeze, and I mention the circum- 
stance to prove that there is always a current in that part of 
the world when there is a breeze. 


*' In the following season a current was found, 
at one time setting north-west, at another time 
east-north-east, but in both oases with the wind, 
Suchjwas also the case with* Billings and Shalauroff 
in the sea of Kolyma, where, however sudden the 
change of wind has been, that of the current has 
been equally sudden, and in a relative proportion 
to the strong^ of wind. Captain Burney remarks, 
that the currents experienced by Shalauroff were 
almost uniformly from the east, I reply, the wind 
was almost uniformly from the same quarter. Upon 
the 23d of August, however, there was a north-west 
wii^; Shalauroff steered to the north-east, but the 
current carried hhn east and south-east among 
floating ice ; he again stood to the north-east, to 
double Shelatskoi Noss, but a contrary irtWsetin, 
and €Lwest-south-westc\ment immediately (ollowed. 
It is remarked in the journal of Shalauroff, and 
I cannot clearly comprehend it, that from the 28th 
of July to the 10th of August, he had a foul wind 
or a calm ; and that when a favourable breeze did 
spring up, he met a strong current going west, of 
half-armile per hour, rather too slight a current to 
merit the appellation of strong. I suppose it was 
the dying remnant of a current, which a continuance 
of north-east winds had caused, and which the sub- 
sequent calm had not quite abated. 

*' With respect to the currents encountered by 


Billings, they differ in nothing, except in strength, 
from those experienced by Shalanroff, attending, 
as they did, always npon the wind. July the 1st, 
they had a fresh breeze from the nortA-easty and a 
current which carried them two points to the wesL 
July 20th, they had a fresh breeze from the north- 
west, and an east current of three miles per hour, 
which current continued until midnight of the 25th, 
when there was but little wind, still from the north* 
west, and but one mile of current, still going to the 
east. After midnight the wind veered to the north- 
east, and the current instantly came /rom the east. 
Hence I cannot but infer from these examples, that 
the wind, acting upon the large expanse of shallow 
waters in the sea of Kolyma, as well as in that 
north of Behring's Straits, is alone the cause of the 
currents ; if so, then they prove the existence of an 
open and extensive sea to the north-east, else where 
would Billings' three miles per hour have gone to, 
or Shalaurors three miles per hour havecome from ? 
** It may be said that a north-west wind would 
drive water into a bay, (if one there be, according- 
to Captain Bumey's idea,) and that the surplus 
must have an outlet somewhere, and the nearest and 
most open would be to the south-west or west- 
south-west. True, I admit such a possibility as a 
north-west wind producing a westerly current ; bat 
the argument will not hold good with a north-east 


viiid. Did the continent of Asia join that of 
America, or run very far north and form a large 
bay, a north-ecut wind could not only not produce 
a north-west or south-west current, but it could 
produce no current at all ; on the contrary, there 
would be still and smooth water, because such would 
be an offshore wind, and therefore it was, when 
~Shalauroff had, upon his return, doubled, or got 
round, the island of Sabedei, and then received a 
current of three miles per hour from the east-north' 
east, that then the north-east termination of Asia 
could not have been far distant, nor have borne 
north of north-east by compass, which is about 
east-north-east. Where could the water have come 
from 1 A north-east wind would not force water into, 
but rather out of, the bay, and such a quantity 
would soon have left the bay dry ; at least, such, 
I presume, will appear to an impartial person. 

** From the currents I will make a few observ- 
ations upon a Mr. Busch and a harpoon; pre- 
vious to which it may not be improper to ask 
Captain Burney, not how he can write Irish, for 
any man of talent can do the like, but how he 
could expect such bulls to be passed in silence ; 
vide page 11 0. It appears that, in 1716, was com- 
pleted, aiOkotskf the first vessel capable of navi- 
gating the open sea ; she sailed, and pat into a port 
on the western coast of Kamtchatka, where a whale 

320 APPENDll. 

had been cast on shore, having in its back * a har- 
poon, marked with Roman charcusters.' Captain 
Bumey says, to entitle this story to any credit, it 
ought to be stated, * what the characters were,' and 
yet he admits, upon the authority of Muller, that 
Busch could neither read nor write, and was 
otherwise so ignorant a man, that Muller could 
not suppose him capable of imitating a like story, 
which had happened on the coast of Corea sixty 
years before. Captain Burney says, Muller was 
too partial to both these reports, because they were 
in exact correspondence with his own hypothesis ; 
a very natural reason, to be sure. I suppose, also, 
the Captain is inclined to doubt them, only be- 
cause they happen to be in exact opposition to an 
hypothesis which he disclaims, but to prove the 
probability of which, he has written three hundred 
p£^es of a book. Mankind are naturally fond of 
their own opinions, especially philosophers, of which 
class Muller is denominated by Captain Bumey, 
when treating upon a far different subject than 
north-east discoveries ; but I think it can be easily 
proved, that Muller has rejected more really doubt- 
ful and improbable evidence than Captain Bumey, 
who appears, throughout his work, like a drowning 
man with a straw, clinging to every trivial circum- 
stance, which would in the least support or favour 
a continental junction. 


^' Bat Captain Barney proceeds much farther; 
for he says, * admitting the fact as relates to Busch 
and the harpoon, it would fall far short of proving 
that whales travel from the European to the Tar- 
tarian seas; as the Russians must be supposed, 
LONG J2EF0RB the timeof Busch, to have thbrb 
introdticed the use of European harping irons ;' 
and yet Busch sailed in the first vbssbl. Let 
Captain Barney tell us what place he alludes to by 
the word there, and to whom the Russians had 
introduced the use of European harping irons so 
liONG BBFORB. Does the Captain knoW that 
Kamtchatka had only been discovered eighteen 
years, and conquered but^De years ? The Captain 
may say, it is natural to suppose that vessels had 
gone from the Anadyr ; but that would have been 
a mistake, for the fruitful Stadukin was ihe^rst 
(he sailed in 1708), for the Kurile Isles were dis- 
covered in consequence. Such is, however, not 
the case ; the Russians never were, nor do I think 
ever will be, whalers in this part of the world ; they 
have better fish to fry, thim to seek for whales 
without a market to carry their oil to. In short, 
I can see no reason for doubting the testimony of 
Busch or Deshnew— ignonmce does not beget 
falsehood. It is a pity that Captain Bumey did 
not also admit the fact of the whale and harpoon 
story, which occurred upon the coast of Corea, sixty 

•VOL. II. Y 


years before, when neither Okotsk, Kamtchatka, 
nor the Anadyr, had been discovered, much less 
settled; to whom, in such a case, would Captain 
Burney have had the Russians introduce the use of 
European harping irons, and where, then, would he 
have had the whale come from ? In this case, there- 
fore, Captain Burney has been at least prudent. 

'* It is in speaking of Mr. Busch that Captain 
Burney has paid such a sweeping and inimitable 
compliment to sea voyagers ; we ought to thank 
him much; I do,* vide page 110, although, I 
confess, I do not think I merit it. Captain 
Burney sailed under the celebrated Cook in his 
voyages of discovery ; he, no doubt, made many 
voyages before, as well as since that period ; and, 
as I give him the credit of being a good Christian, 
and that he judges as he would he judged hy^ then 
Captain Burney must be a great imitator indeed. 
I do not know of what his South Sea Voyages are 
made, but if they are of the same materials as his 
Northern Voyages, then certainly he merits his 
own compliment. Captain Burney's discreditmg of 
sea voycyers, will naturally account for his partiality 
to land voyagers, such as Stadukin, Pavlutzki, 
Ledyard, and Andreef ; but I beg pardon for this 
raillery, his age and his wisdom command more 

* Captun Burney says no men have been greater imitaiars 
than sea voyagers. 


** Writing Andreef s name will also bring him 
into notice for a few words. In page 376 of Bar- 
ney, there is a passage thus:<^' that when the 
depth of water was found to decrease^ there can 
he hut litth douht they luui approcLched the land 
seen hy Andreef.* It is a most extraordinary cir- 
cumstance that people will persist Andreef saw 
new land ; he saw only the Bear Islands at the 
month of the Kolyma, but no land nor indication 
of land to the north of them ; whatever he may 
have heard, his journal, which is now before me, 
mentions nothing of the kind. Since Andreef, a 
Mr. G^denstrom, and with whom I was acquainted 
in Irkutsk, has trarelled across the Frozen Sea in 
the same direction as that over which Billings 
sailed. Gedenstrom saw nothing ; and had there 
been any other land than the Bear Islands, he 
must have gone over it, as he went beyond one 
hundred and twenty miles north-north-east from 
the Kolyma ;'^ (as has also Baron Wrangel, since 
I addressed this letter to the Royal Society.) 

* Besides, it may be a matter of speculation, whether dogs 
or budares eould, consistently with safety, have travelled 
over the ice or sea so far as AndreePs ideal land is placed. 
By the word ideal, I do not mean to infer that no snch land 
exists ; I mean only, that it is a traditional report : else how 
came Andreef to know the name of the land, as well as 
of its inhabitants, which words have no connexion with one 
another ? 

Y 2 


When Gedenstrom was half way on his journey, 
he saw indications of high land to the east^ which, 
I doubt not, was the same land seen by ShalauroiF 
on the second day of his leaving the isle of 
SabedeL It is to be regretted that Mr. 6. did 
not change his route, instead of his continuing a 
due north course. I feel surprised at the error 
respecting Andreef,' because the Russian gorem- 
ment have crept into the same, as must evidently 
appear when reading the instructions given to 

** With respect to a short voyage made by 
Amossow, it serves only to confirm the account of 
Shalauroif, as well as to prove that a tribe of 
people certainly did dwell between Shelatskoi Noss 
and the Kolyma, and which may have been the 
Shelages tribe ; their habitations were observed in 
the same narrow channel, both by.Shalanroff and 
Amossow ; but I am in doubt whether the island 
of Sabedei is now in existence,"^ for such is the 
rapid increase of the continent towards the north, 
that near Svatoi Noss, to the westward of this, 
there was, only sixty years ago, a wide channel 

* This doubt is, however removed, as will appear by the 
result of the expedition under Baron Wrangel. The dwellings 
seen in the narrow channel by Amossow, between Sabedei and 
the main land, are even still in existence, for Baron Wrangel 
saw them. 




between die isle of Diomed and the main land, yet 
has this island been united to the continent now 
fifteen years. Such an extraordinary fact may throw 
some light upon the cause of the very shallow water 
all along the Asiatic Icy Sea coast. 

** It is hardly worth arguing whether the waters 
of the sea decrease, or whether the sea recedes,, 
(although I think both are facts,) such a difference 
may be amicably settled, by admitting that the 
land increases, of which there are annual proofs at 
BaranoY Kamen, and Shalauroff's Huts, at the 
mouth of the Kolyma. The numerous large rivers 
which enter the Asiatic Icy Sea must carry with 
them immense quantities of loose earth, trees, and 
even of large rocks, which must serve to shallow 
the water to a great distance from the land. The 
annual evaporation must also be very great, and 
much greater than even the numerous large rivers 
. can in three months refund ; hence the waters must 
decrease ; and, if that be the case, they must also 
recede. The like circumstance may also take place ' 
in the American Icy Sea, although we have not the 
knowledge of so many or such large rivers as there 
are in Asia, all of which, except the Okota, Anadyr, 
and Amour, enter the Icy Sea. 

'' The immense quantities of loose earth, wood, 
and rocks, which are annually washed into the Icy 
Sea, have continued to increase for ages, and wil|[ 


continae to increase ; consequently, the diflScnIty 
and danger of navigating the Icy Sea have con- 
tinned, and will also continue to increase, in a 
relative proportion. The facility which, com- 
paratively speaking, existed two and three hundred 
years ago, of navigating the seas in high latitudes, 
no longer exists. When our improvements in 
naval architecture, in geography, and in astronomy, 
as well as our improvements in seamanship, »re 
taken into consideration, we may well be surprised 
at the successful voyages performed by our an- 
cestors in cockle-boats, and manned by lubbers, 
compared to those of the present day. Look back 
to those three American voyagers, Baffin, Hudson, 
and Davis ; they did not experience the awful 
dangers encountered by Ross:"^ consequentiy, the 
difficulties and dangers must have increased in a 
greater proportion than our improvements in 
general knowledge.f The causes may be easily 
stated; there is more \ani, more ice, and less 
water, — I mean in a fluid state ; the overfloodings 
of the rivers produce the former, and the increase 
of cold the two latter ; independent of the circum- 
stance that the already formed mountains of ice, 

^ Much less those borne by Parry and Ids companioiis. 

f It may be asserted, without fear of oontradiction, that 
ships or vessels now-a-days cannot go where they did two or 
three hundred years a^o. 

▲PPBNDIX. 327 

and which have for ages existed uader the Pole, 
have oontinuedy and will continue, to increase, even 
thoagh the seasons did not change."*^ I have often 
observed a great attractive power in cold ice, — that 
is, in ice exposed to SS"" and 40"" of Reaumur. 

^' I am, however, wandering, and will therefore 
draw my letter to a conclusion, trusting that I have 
proved, if ever Deshnew did reach the Anadyr with 
the vessels in which he sailed from the Kolyma, 
that he mtist have sailed round the north-east 
of Asia, and, consequently, that no junction with 
America can exist. I trust I have proved a 
perfect coincidence in the narrations of Deshnew, 
Pavlutzki, Shalauroff, Cook, and Billings; and that 
there is every reason to conclude that the north- 
east termination of Asia, or Shelatskoi Noss, must 
be near the latitude of 70<* 2(K, or 70<» 30^ north, 
and in the longitude of 175'' or 176'' east. I 
think it will appear, by what T have said respecting 
the currents, that they argue for a free passage, — 
that is, unobstructed by land. I trust, also, these 
arguments are supported a good deal by the direc- 
tions and junction of the two chains of mountains 
which meet on the Kvata ; the course and distance 
to the sea from the rivers Karpa and Kvata, which 

* I Bay this, to explain that ice begets ice, as the more it 
contracts and leaves fissures of water, the more exposed is 
that water to the atmosphere, and consequently the more 
likely to freeze. 



enter the ocean on different sides of the promontory, 
or Shelatskoi Noss, aided by the narrative of Busch, 
and the circumstantial proof arising from the well- 
known course of the land east of Baranov Kamen, 
and the equally well-knoWn conrse of the land on 
the eastern shore ; together with Shal^uroff's voy- 
age and map, Pavlutzki's march and journal, and 
Billings's journal and map, — all of which are such 
corroborating testimonies, that I doubt not I am 
justified in ridiculing the idea of a continental 
junction, or even of a great promontory. 

"As to Cook's expedition not experiencing 
hollow waves from the north, they had light airs ; 
besides, the quantity of ice in that direction, and 
the shallowness of the water, might account for it. 
I am, however, of opinion with Captain Bumey, 
that there is land to the north of Behring's Straits ; 
but when I look to the situation of the Discovery, 
when off Icy and North Capes, no land being yisible 
north or east of the former, nor north nor west of 
the latter, I cannot but call them circumstantial 
proofs of their being the north-west and north-east 
extremes of their respective continents. 

** Should you be of opinion that these my 
arguments are just, reasonable, and impartial, I 
am satisfied, although at the expense of an able 
gentleman, as his book and arguments will then 
appear partial, untenable, and inconclusive. In 


justice, however, to Captain Barney, I must admit 
that^the multiplicity of subjects which seem to 
have engaged his attention, and to have called forth 
his wandering pen, when only professing to write 
** A Chronological History of North-east Dis- 
coveries,'' plead much in his behalf; he deserved 
better success; but I cannot see any probability of 
his hypothesis being verified in his or my life-time, 
unless the original longevity of man be restored, 
and that we are enabled to reach the age of nine 
hundred or a thousand years; in that case' there 
will be a hope, at least, if the two continents 
contmue to make such rapid advances towards the 
north ; in that case, a junction will take place at 
the Poh. 

** I will now take my leave both of Captain 
Burney, and you, gentlemen; and trust that all 
three of you will excuse the length of this letter, as 
well as its contents. Should you think it deserving 
the attention of the B^yal Society, I shall be 
obliged by your causing it to be read; should they 
approve of it, I shall feel honoured. Neither they 
nor Captain Burney will long entertain a doubt on 
this interesting question ; an expedition will leave « 
this in March, to traverse round the Shelatskoi 
Noss with dogs ; and, about the same time, I shall 
attempt penetrating through the country of the 
Tchuktchi ; one or both may succeed. Be the re- 


suit what it may, I shall have the honour of 
addressing you for the informatioD of the Royal 
Society, and the transfusion of knowledge in 
general ;* I will also forward any other useful or 
interesting information which I may gather during 
my rambles. 

^' It remains for me only to hope you will excuse 
the siyhf of this letter, and it is with great sin- 
cerity I make a request, that if, in your opinion, it 
is undeserving the attention of the Royal Society, 
by committing it to the flames, its memory will 
pmsh, and my credit will be saved \X the interest 
of the subject has alone induced me to take it up, 
and wiU plead my excuse, especiaUy as I am so 
unaccustomed to address any learned body. Be 
the result what it may, I shall remain, gentlemen, 
vrith eveiy respect, 

** Your obedient servant, 
'/ John Dundas Cochrane." 

To Uie Seoretary and President of 
the Royal Sooiety, London.'' 

* Surely this passa^ alone ought to have exonerated me 
from an intentien of treating witili disrespect the President, 
or elevating the Secretary. I did not write to the one or to 
the other, but to the body of the Royal Society. 

f It is the style which appears to have offended the dignity 
probably of the Goundl. 

X Why was not my request complied with? This is unme- 
rited, and derogatory to the character of learned gentlemen. 



Such is the copy of the letter which I addressed 
from the river Kolyma to the Royal Society. My 
readers are aware of the reception it has met with, 
not from the learned body composing the Royal 
Society, but from Sir Humphrey Dayy and the 
Council! Now, whatever may be his or their 
opinions as to its merits, not he nor they can by 
any means convince me, that the arguments 
contained in it are not weighty, probably more 
weighty, than he, or they, or some other people, 
wished; and th^t, as the subject regarding the 
north-east of Asia was really of interest, any merit 
as to the solution of the question ought to be retained 
by an F.R.S. ; and that, therefore, I was not to be 
heard or attended to. This is a lesson I bad to, 
learn ; nor shall it be lost^ upon me. I always, 
however, understood, that when a question was once 
submitted to and received favourably by the Royal 
Society, that then the subject was open to the 
opinions, arguments, and statements of others ; 
but, as it seems that a monopoly of arguing such 
subjects is to be retained by the Royal Society, I 
suppose I must bow, and content myself with sub- 
mitting the matter to an equally enlightened, but 
less vain, part of the community ; if they approve 
of it, I shall feel much more gratified than if my 
letter had been put upon some old dusty shelf, 
to be devoured by time or vermin, the general 


attendant upon the works even of the most chemical, 
scientific, or enlightened. 

A reference to the map of the north-east part of 
Asia, as I here give it, will convince the reader 
that I have at least contributed to bring to a com- 
pletion the knowledge of the boundaries of that 
continent. The distance between Baranov Kamen 
and Cape Kuzmin was surveyed, in I82I9 by Baron 
Wrangel; a copy of that survey I procured in 1^23, 
two years after I had written my letter to the Boyal 
Society. This being understood, let the latitude 
and longitude of Shelatskoi Noss, as ascertained 
by observations, be compared with that I ventured 
to predict ; let the march of Pavlutzki and of Bit- 
lings, the run or course of the mountains — in short, 
let all my arguments be ever so often considered 
and examined, — it cannot fail to be seen that I 
argued successfully. > 

The geography and circumnavigation of Asia 
being thus completed, with the exception of the 
Taimura Gape, which has only been traversed 
round by dogs, with a Lieutenant Laptieff, in 
1731, is a circumstance I have the satisfaction of 
first stating to the public. The distance of ninety 
miles betwieen Gape Kuzmin and Gape North, and 
which Baron Wrangel was prevented from want of 
provisions from surveying, has since been accom- 
plished by the same intrepid and enlightened young 

▲PP£ND1X. 33S 

officer^ in as miraculous and dangerous a manner 
as the annals of discovery can bear testimony of. 
The account of it is stated in the Siberian Herald, 
which notices five expeditions over the ice, under- 
taken in a period of three years ; two of them were 
directed to ascertain the precise situation of the 
north-east cape of Asia, or Shelatskoi Noss» while 
three of them were to cross the Frozen Sea, in 
search of real or supposed lands. The last three 
were.unsuccessfuly although some of the Tchuktchi 
reported to the baron the existence of land only 
fifty miles north-east of Shelatskoi Noss ; they 
even asserted that it was visible, in clear weather, 
from the continent. Determined to ascertain the 
fact, the baron proceeded to Shelatskoi Noss, and 
thence directed his course north-east; he had. not, 
however, proceeded more than thirty miles, when a 
violent storm came on, and lasting several days, 
not only broke up the fields of ice, but actually in- 
sulated him upon a floe, which drove to the south- 
ward, and rendered it very doubtful whether he 
and his companions would again be enabled to reach 
land. Besides being exposed for several days upon 
this piece of floating ice, the bar6h was destitute 
of firing and provisions, cut off, as he was, from 
the supplies he had buried; this good, however, 
attended his dangerous situation — ^it enabled him 
to survey all the line from Shelatskoi Noss to die 


Bay of Klashenie and Serdze Kamen. What can 
denote more nndaanted perseverance in the dis- 
charge of a pnblic duty, surrounded by dangers, 
exposed to privations and fatigues, as well as to 
hunger, than this Ruisian conduct ? 

The bowidaries of Asia being thus unquestionably 
known, render those of America, if not more 
important, at least more interesting. The reader 
may probably perceive a difference of three degrees 
of longitude, or a distance of sixty miles, in the 
situation of Shelatskoi Noss, between that repre- 
selited in the little, and that in either of the larger 
maps. The reason is this : — Baranov Cape is in 
166° 4ff' of east longitude, according to all charts, 
ancient and modem; I have, therefore, in my 
narrative followed the custom of such charts ; but, 
in this probably more scientific addition to the first 
edition, I have felt it right to point out the error, 
which is, that it is 166"* 4(r east of Paris, and not 
of London, which will bring the actual longitude 
to 169° east from London. Baranov Kamen 
became known from Captain Billings's expedition: 
as an Englishman, unacquainted with foreign lan- 
guages, he, of cburse, worked astronomical observ- 
ations with English books; while the second in 
command, the present Admiral Saretcheff, a Rus- 
sian, understood nothing of the English language, 
and as the Russians had not at that time any bat 


French translations, of course the longitude was 
calculated by him from the meridian of Paris. It 
is extraordinary that the same error should exist 
of the longitudes of Nishney Kolymsk and Okotsk, 
as also of the small island of Eon in the Okotsk Sea. 
Captain Bnrney has properly stated the longitude 
of Baranov Kamen, which merely compresses the 
land south-east of Shelatskoi Noss towards Cape 
North into sixty miles of less extent than pointed 
out in all other maps except this little one ; and, in 
fact, proves that my idea of the local situation of 
Shelatskoi Noss was correct. . The only error . I 
made was in bringing out Pavlutzki at Cape North, 
instead of Cape Kuzmin. I have ventured, there- 
fore, to make that much of alteration, for the better 
illustration of the subject. 

It is not unworthy of remark, that the sacred 
promontory which has given rise to so many dis- 
cussions, to identify which was considered an easy 
thing, fromhavingtwo islands opposite to it. whose 
inhabitants wear artificial teeth, cannot be identified 
from that fact. Such is Deshnew's description; 
but Shelatskoi Noss has two islands opposite to it, 
which are inhabited: Tchukotskoi Noss has two 
islands opposite to it, which are also inhabited, 
and so has Anadyrskoi Noss. That the second 
was the one intended I cannot doubt, as from it 
to the Anadyr is a circular course, which river can 



be 'reached in three days; circumstances which 
do not combine with Shelatskoi or Anadyrskoi 
Nosses. With these observations I leave tbe 
subject and the letter to the candour of the 





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